Doherty, David, Conor M. Dowling, Alan S. Gerber, and Gregory A. Huber (2017). Are Voting Norms Conditional? How Electoral Context and Peer Behavior Shape the Social Returns to Voting. The Journal of Politics 79(3):1095-1100. DOI: 10.1086/691689.
Research on turnout in presidential elections has shown that “battleground” state status has modest effects on turnout, raising the question of why individuals vote even in noncompetitive states. We present experimental evidence showing that the typically small effect of battleground status on turnout may be tied to the fact that voting norms are insensitive to whether a given individual’s vote is likely to affect the outcome of an election. Instead, variability in the social rewards to voting are more closely tied to the behaviors of others.
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