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How Wind Speed Affects Voting Decisions

28 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2016 Last revised: 19 Jul 2017

Jon M. Jachimowicz

Columbia University - Columbia Business School

Jochen I. Menges

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management; Judge Business School, University of Cambridge

Adam D. Galinsky

Columbia Business School - Management

Date Written: May 31, 2017

Abstract

Many theories of democracy propose that individuals make voting decisions after deliberately considering electoral options. The current research, however, finds that an incidental factor — wind speed on Election Day — affects voting decisions. We present a causal model for how wind speed affects voting decisions: higher wind speed increases a psychological prevention focus that makes voters more inclined to select prevention-focused options (e.g., reflecting safety) over promotion-focused options (e.g., reflecting risk and change). Archival analyses of four elections (the “Brexit” vote, the Scotland independence referendum, 10 years of Swiss referendums, and 100 years of US presidential elections), one field study, and one lab experiment found that individuals exposed to higher wind speed become more prevention-focused and more likely to support prevention-focused electoral options. Notably, analyses also revealed that wind speed only affected elections involving clear prevention versus promotion options. The findings highlight the importance of incidental environmental factors for voting decisions.

Keywords: elections, weather, regulatory focus

JEL Classification: D72, D81

Suggested Citation

Jachimowicz, Jon M. and Menges, Jochen I. and Galinsky, Adam D., How Wind Speed Affects Voting Decisions (May 31, 2017). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 16-82. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2868054 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2868054

Jon M. Jachimowicz (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Jochen I. Menges

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, 56179
Germany

Judge Business School, University of Cambridge

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom
1223766447 (Phone)
1223766447 (Fax)

Adam D. Galinsky

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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