Public Choice

, Volume 153, Issue 1–2, pp 235–249 | Cite as

Correcting mistakes: cognitive dissonance and political attitudes in Sweden and the United States

  • Mikael ElinderEmail author


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 (Am. Econ. J. Appl. Econ. 1:86–111, 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 both Sweden and the United States.


Cognitive dissonance Voting Elections Political attitudes 

JEL Classification

B59 C21 D72 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) and Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies (UCFS)Uppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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