Estimating Habit Formation in Voting

46 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2013 Last revised: 22 May 2022

See all articles by Thomas Fujiwara

Thomas Fujiwara

Princeton University

Kyle Meng

Princeton University

Tom Vogl

Priceton University - Center for Health and Wellbeing

Date Written: December 2013

Abstract

We estimate habit formation in voting--the effect of past on current turnout--by exploiting transitory voting cost shocks. Using county-level data on U.S. presidential elections from 1952-2012, we find that precipitation on current and past election days reduces voter turnout. Our estimates imply that a 1-point decrease in past turnout lowers current turnout by 0.7-0.9 points. Consistent with a dynamic extension of the Downsian framework, current precipitation has stronger effects following previous rainy elections. Further analyses suggest that this habit formation operates by reinforcing the intrinsic satisfaction associated with voting.

Suggested Citation

Fujiwara, Thomas and Meng, Kyle and Vogl, Tom, Estimating Habit Formation in Voting (December 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19721, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2367132

Thomas Fujiwara (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Kyle Meng

Princeton University

Tom Vogl

Priceton University - Center for Health and Wellbeing ( email )

Wallace Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

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