Early Voting Experiences and Habit Formation

44 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2019 Last revised: 19 Apr 2021

See all articles by Elias Dinas

Elias Dinas

University of Oxford

Vicente Valentim

European University Institute

Nikolaj Broberg

European University Institute

Mark N. Franklin

European University Institute

Date Written: October 8, 2019

Abstract

Research has shown that first-time voting experiences affect subsequent voting behavior, with salient elections boosting subsequent turnout and non-salient ones supressing it. We challenge this view. Following research on the context-dependent nature of habit formation, we argue that all elections should affect subsequent turnout in elections of the same type. Comparing individuals that differ only in how salient their first eligible election was (Presidential or Midterm), we find support for this expectation. Individuals are more likely to vote for, and be interested in, elections of the same type as their first voting experience. Leveraging voting age laws in the US, we also show that such laws affect subsequent participation by changing the type of election individuals are first eligible for.

Keywords: Voting habits; midterm elections; turnout; presidential elections; eligibility

Suggested Citation

Dinas, Elias and Valentim, Vicente and Broberg, Nikolaj and Franklin, Mark N., Early Voting Experiences and Habit Formation (October 8, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3466515 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3466515

Elias Dinas (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Vicente Valentim

European University Institute ( email )

San Domenico di Fiesole
Italy

Nikolaj Broberg

European University Institute ( email )

Mark N. Franklin

European University Institute ( email )

Via dei Roccettini 9
San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, 50014
Italy

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