As covered on Democracy Chronicles, there are many unexpected factors that research suggests affects US voter turnout. Influencing factors include things like cigarette smoking, wind speed, rain, bad weather forecasts, boredom, and delayed onset adulthood. Now, new research published at Springer Link by Abel François and Olivier Gergaud has added blood donation to the mix. The following is from the research paper’s abstract:
Although sense of civic duty is seen by many scholars as the most obvious solution to the paradox of voting, very few empirical studies provide clear evidence on that motive. We use blood donation to build proxies, focusing only on intrinsic motivations, and then introduce such measures into electoral turnout regressions. Our results show that civic duty has a strong influence on voter turnout rates, confirming that the satisfaction voters receive from voting matters regardless of election outcomes. The results are even stronger when we incorporate the number of plasma and platelet donations, which take more time and require stronger commitments from donors.
The research was originally published by Public Choice, a “peer-reviewed journal that studies the intersection between economics and political science”. You can read the full paper, titled “Is civic duty the solution to the paradox of voting?”, at this link. This type of research is highlighted in the Democracy Chronicles Election Science archives as well as other important research in political science as it relates to democracy, the ultimate invention in political science.