Informal social networks and Rational Voting

Published

Journal Article

Classical rational choice explanations of voting participation are widely thought to have failed. This article argues that the currently dominant Group Mobilization and Ethical Agency approaches have serious shortcomings in explaining individually rational turnout. It develops an informal social network (ISN) model in which people rationally vote if their informal networks of family and friends attach enough importance to voting, because voting leads to social approval and vice versa. Using results from the social psychology literature, research on social groups in sociology and their own survey data, the authors argue that the ISN model can explain individually rational non-altruistic turnout. If group variables that affect whether voting is used as a marker of individual standing in groups are included, the likelihood of turnout rises dramatically. © 2010 Cambridge University Press.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Abrams, S; Iversen, T; Soskice, D

Published Date

  • April 1, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 41 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 229 - 257

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-2112

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0007-1234

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0007123410000499

Citation Source

  • Scopus