Visibility and Sanctions: The social norm of voting in the lab.

Aina Gallego*, Carol Galais, Marc Guinjoan, Jean Michel Lavoie, André Blais

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in BookChapterResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Theories of voter turnout pay increasing attention to ethical and social motives of voting, yet the empirical foundations of such perspectives are still scarce. In this chapter, we present the results of a laboratory experiment, conducted in two different countries, in which we manipulate the social conditions under which the elections take place. We find that both visibility and the possibility of administering and receiving sanctions boost voter participation by seven or eight percentage points. We also show that voters are willing to punish non-voters at a cost to themselves one third of the time and that receiving a sanction for non-voting increases the likelihood of voting in the next round by about eight percentage points. Overall, the results are consistent with a social norm model of voting.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationVoting Experiments
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319405735
ISBN (Print)9783319405711
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


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