Working Paper Series
Correcting Mistakes: Cognitive Dissonance and Political Attitudes in Sweden and the United States
Abstract: Cognitive dissonance theory predicts that the act of
voting makes people more positive toward the party or candidate they have
voted for. Following Mullainathan and Washington (2009), I test this
prediction by using exogenous variation in turnout provided by the voting
age restriction. I improve on previous studies by investigating political
attitudes, measured just before elections, when they are highly predictive
of voting. In contrast to earlier studies I find no effect of voting on
political attitudes. This result holds for a variety of political attitudes
and for both Sweden and the United States.
Keywords: Cognitive Dissonance; Voting; Elections; Political Attitudes; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: B59; C21; D72; (follow links to similar papers)
25 pages, June 22, 2009
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