Why is Voting Habit-Forming: Evidence from Sweden.
For decades, scholars of electoral behavior have noted persistence in individuals' turnout decisions
and hypothesized that such persistence is the result of habit. Recent empirical studies provide
persuasive evidence supporting the habitual voting hypothesis, but we still do not know why
individuals develop habits for voting. One theory is that voting causes individuals' to view
themselves as "voters," increasing their future probabilities of voting. Another theory asserts that
voting may ease institutional barriers, making future voting less costly and changing conative
attitudes towards voting. This study seeks to disentangle these two causal mechanisms by testing
the habitual voting hypothesis in Sweden. Since institutional barriers to voting are minimal in
Sweden, evidence in favor of the habitual voting hypothesis will lend credence to a psychological
mechanism. The opposite result will point to an institutional mechanism. Ultimately, habitual
voting is found in Sweden, which suggests the psychological mechanism is valid.
Actions (login required)