Communication Among Voters Benefits the Majority Party

The Economic Journal, Volume 129, Issue 618, 1 February 2019, Pages 961–990

66 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2017 Last revised: 22 Feb 2019

See all articles by Thomas R. Palfrey

Thomas R. Palfrey

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Kirill Pogorelskiy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 11, 2017

Abstract

How does communication among voters affect turnout? In a laboratory experiment, subjects, divided into two competing parties, choose between costly voting and abstaining. Pre-play communication treatments, relative to the No Communication control, are Public Communication (subjects exchange public messages through computers) and Party Communication (messages are public within one's own party). Communication benefits the majority party by increasing its turnout margin, hence its winning probability. Party communication increases turnout; public communication decreases total turnout with a low voting cost. With communication, there is no support for Nash equilibrium and limited consistency with correlated equilibrium.

Keywords: voter turnout, pre-play communication, lab experiment, correlated equilibrium

JEL Classification: C72, C92, D72

Suggested Citation

Palfrey, Thomas R. and Pogorelskiy, Kirill, Communication Among Voters Benefits the Majority Party (September 11, 2017). The Economic Journal, Volume 129, Issue 618, 1 February 2019, Pages 961–990. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3022254

Thomas R. Palfrey

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

1200 East California Blvd.
301A Baxter Hall
Pasadena, CA 91125
United States
626-395-4088 (Phone)
626-4432-1726 (Fax)

Kirill Pogorelskiy (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://warwick.ac.uk/kbp

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