Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Democratic Peer Pressure

The people at freakonomics link to a detailed experiment on voter turn-out rates in the United States. In this case study, it was found that increased amounts of social pressure will increase voting rates. Here were the voter turn-out rates for the different groups:

Control: 29.7%
Civic Duty: 31.5% (sent a pamphlet telling them it was their civic duty to vote)
Hawthorne: 32.2% (got the same pamphlet and were told their turn-out rate was being studied)
Self: 34.5% (pamphlet included a list of who in their own household had voted last election and were told that a list of who voted this time would be sent to them after the election)
Neighbours: 37.8% (pamphlet included a list of who among their neighbours had voted last election and were told that a similar list would be distributed after the election)

So, we can see that the fear of others knowing they weren't voting increased voting turn out by 8.1%.

Now, I'm not sure public humiliation is necessarily the solution to voter apathy but in light of the 41% turn-out rate in Alberta, it certainly is interesting.



  • 8.1 percentage points. I expect better from a statistician!

    This is a singularly clever study.

    By Blogger Peter Loewen, at 10:56 PM  

  • For all the excuses for NOT voting, it took all of 10 minutes for me.

    I still figure a monetary incentive is the way to go. Make it a personal tax deduction. like $100.

    By Blogger art, at 11:48 AM  

  • Power shifts in some tribal mid-east countries often leave many dead bodies in their wake.

    Power shifts in democratic countries made via the ballot box, take no lives at all.

    We all prefer the ballot box system paid for by hundreds of thousands who lost their lives in several wars.

    Honour those who gave us our freedoms. Always vote during an election. Those who would destroy our freedom first organize and vote as one.

    Let*s not be taken by surprise. = TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 12:34 PM  

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