Research links voting to desire for social standing, discomfort with lying


Berkeley News, October 11, 2016


What motivates people to vote? Is it a matter of doing the morally right thing, a reflection of the desire to make a difference, or a quiet statement about standing up and being counted? Does it boil down to trying to seize power or control?

Honestly? Look for a few surprising answers in “Voting to Tell Others,” a paper in an upcoming issue of the Review of Economic Studies that could as easily read “Voting, So We Don’t Have to Say We Did When We Really Didn’t.”

With Nov. 8 just around the corner and some voters still straddling the fence about whether to even cast a ballot, a team of behavioral economists from UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago and Harvard University report some interesting findings about the much debated question of why people vote.

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