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
Date Written: October 22, 2010
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.
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