Why does the likelihood of voting increase with education in the U.S.? Prominent theories attribute education’s effect to human capital, which affords individuals resources needed to participate, but neglect social motivations. We test a theory of internalized social norms as another contributing factor, providing evidence in three studies. First, we show that highly educated people are more likely to view voting as a civic duty, and that civic duty partially mediates the effect of education on voting. Second, we show education is associated with a higher likelihood of overreporting voting in the 2016 election. Third, we show that educated respondents are more likely to withstand stimuli incentivizing them to report they will not vote in an upcoming election. The results imply that voting norms vary by education, and invite more attention to social explanations for socioeconomic disparities in turnout
Hansen, Eric and Tyner, Andrew. Educational Attainment and Social Norms of Voting. Political Behavior, 43, : 711–735, 2021. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Political Science: Faculty Publications and Other Works, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11109-019-09571-8
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