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Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) Working Paper Series

No 802:
Correcting Mistakes: Cognitive Dissonance and Political Attitudes in Sweden and the United States

Mikael Elinder ()

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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