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The effect of social interaction and cultural consumption on voting turnout

Martorana, Marco Ferdinando and Mazza, Isidoro (2012): The effect of social interaction and cultural consumption on voting turnout.

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Abstract

Theory of rational voting states that, with positive voting costs, people would vote only when they are pivotal. This hypothesis is contradicted by the frequent observation of relatively high rates of electoral turnout. In the last decades several solutions to the paradox have been investigated. Within a behavioral approach, studies suggest that dynamics emerging in a group may induce its members to conform to cooperative or ethical behavior and consequently encourage voting participation. Such dynamics remind the source of social capital defined by Bourdieu (1986) as “the nature of the social obligations, connections, and networks available to you”. In this paper we investigate the influence of social interaction and cultural consumption on voting turnout using data from British Household Panel Surve. The analysis highlights the role of hierarchical groups on electoral participation as well as the effect of residential mobility in weakining social connections.

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