Costly Voting: A Large-Scale Real Effort Experiment

33 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2017

See all articles by Marco Faravelli

Marco Faravelli

The University of Queensland

Kenan Kalayci

University of Queensland

Carlos Pimienta

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Date Written: August 24, 2017

Abstract

We test the turnout predictions of the standard two-party, private value, costly voting model through a large-scale, real effort experiment. We do this by recruiting 1,200 participants through Amazon's Mechanical Turk and employing a 2 x 2 between subjects design encompassing small (N=30) and large (N=300) elections, as well as close and one-sided elections. We find partial evidence of selfish instrumental voting. Participants with a higher opportunity cost are less likely to vote (cost effect); turnout rate decreases as the electorate size increases (size effect) in one-sided elections and increases the closer the election is (competition effect) in large elections. Contrary to the theoretical predictions, in large one-sided elections the majority turns out to vote at a higher rate than the minority. We propose an alternative theory assuming that voters obtain a small non-monetary utility if they vote and their party wins.

Keywords: Costly Voting, Turnout, Field Experiment, Real Effort, Amazon's Mechanical Turk

JEL Classification: C93, D72, C72

Suggested Citation

Faravelli, Marco and Kalayci, Kenan and Pimienta, Carlos, Costly Voting: A Large-Scale Real Effort Experiment (August 24, 2017). UNSW Business School Research Paper No. 2017-16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3025934 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3025934

Marco Faravelli

The University of Queensland ( email )

Australia

Kenan Kalayci

University of Queensland ( email )

Brisbane, QLD 4072
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.uq.edu.au/economics/kalayci-kenan

Carlos Pimienta (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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