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Social Norms and the Paradox of Elections' Turnout

João Amaro de Matos and Pedro P. Barros
Public Choice
Vol. 121, No. 1/2 (Jul., 2004), pp. 239-255
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30026519
Page Count: 17
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Social Norms and the Paradox of Elections' Turnout
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Abstract

People vote although their marginal gain from voting is zero. We contribute to the resolution of this paradox by presenting a model for equilibrium configuration of attitudes regarding the decision to vote. Each individual is seen as an element of a social network, within which pairs of individuals express ideas and attitudes, exerting mutual influence. We model the role of such networks in propagating the mutual influence across pairs of individuals. We show that it may suffice that a small set of individuals have a strong feeling about showing up to vote to generate a significant turnout in elections.

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