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

26 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: 2009

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.

Keywords: Cognitive dissonance, Voting, Elections, Political Attitudes

JEL Classification: B59, C21, D72

Suggested Citation

Elinder, Mikael, Correcting Mistakes: Cognitive Dissonance and Political Attitudes in Sweden and the United States (2009). IFN Working Paper No. 802, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1695930 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1695930

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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