Patience as a Political Virtue: Delayed Gratification and Turnout
Political Behavior, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 113-128, June 2006
25 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2007
A number of scholars have demonstrated that voter turnout is influenced by the costs of processing information and going to the polls, and the policy benefits associated with the outcome of the election. However, no one has yet noted that the costs of voting are paid on and before Election Day while policy benefits may not materialize until several days, months, or even years later. Since the costs of voting must be borne before the benefits are realized, people who are more patient should be more willing to vote. We use a "choice game" from experimental economics to estimate individual discount factors which are used to measure patience. We then show that patience significantly increases voter turnout.
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