Correcting Mistakes: Cognitive Dissonance and Political Attitudes in Sweden and the United States

Uppsala University Dept. of Economics Working Paper No. 2009:12

28 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2010

See all articles by Mikael Elinder

Mikael Elinder

Uppsala University - Department of Economics; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 22, 2010

Abstract

Cognitive dissonance theory predicts that the act of voting makes people more positive toward the party or candidate they have voted for. Following Mullainathan and Washington (2009), I test this prediction by using exogenous variation in turnout provided by the voting age restriction. I improve on previous studies by investigating political attitudes, measured just before elections, when they are highly predictive of voting. In contrast to earlier studies I find no effect of voting on political attitudes. This result holds for a variety of political attitudes and for both Sweden and the United States.

Suggested Citation

Elinder, Mikael, Correcting Mistakes: Cognitive Dissonance and Political Attitudes in Sweden and the United States (October 22, 2010). Uppsala University Dept. of Economics Working Paper No. 2009:12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1695912 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1695912

Mikael Elinder (Contact Author)

Uppsala University - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 513
Uppsala, 751 20
Sweden

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

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