Monday, June 16, 2008

Potter Gold

Andrew Potter has a nice and counterintuitive column in this week's Maclean's. Potter argues that negative advertising may not be all bad. He has Warren Kinsella and me in his corner. I am not sure how I would match up in bar fight, but I suspect Warren's a good comrade in arms.

Anyways, it's an article I like, first because of the counterintuitions, but also because Potter cites some of my recent research. The paper is under review, so I won't link to it, but if you'd like a copy email me. In the meantime, here's the abstract:

Some citizens differ in their levels of concern for the supporters of various parties. I demonstrate how such concerns can motivate citizens to vote . I first present a simple formal model which incorporates concern for others and election benefits to explain the decision to vote. By predicting substantial turnout, this model overcomes the “paradox of participation”. I then verify the model empirically. I utilize a series dictator games in an online survey of more than 2000 Canadians to measure the concern of individuals for other partisans. I show how the preferences revealed in these games can predict the decision to vote in the face of several conventional controls. Taken together, the formal model and empirical results generate a more fulsome and satisfactory account of the decision to vote than an explanation which relies solely on duty.

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