Exit polls, turnout, and bandwagon voting: Evidence from a natural experiment

Rebecca B. Morton, Daniel Muller, Lionel Page, Benno Torgler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We exploit a voting reform in France to estimate the causal effect of exit poll information on turnout and bandwagon voting. Before the change in legislation, individuals in some French overseas territories voted after the election result had already been made public via exit poll information from mainland France. We estimate that knowing the exit poll information decreases voter turnout by about 11 percentage points. Our study is the first clean empirical design outside of the laboratory to demonstrate the effect of such knowledge on voter turnout. Furthermore, we find that exit poll information significantly increases bandwagon voting; that is, voters who choose to turn out are more likely to vote for the expected winner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-81
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Economic Review
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Elections
  • Information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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