Habit formation in voting: Evidence from rainy elections

Thomas Fujiwara, Kyle Meng, Tom Vogl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


We estimate habit formation in voting-the effect of past on current turnout-by exploiting transitory voting cost shocks. Using countylevel data on US presidential elections from 1952-2012, we find that rainfall on current and past election days reduces voter turnout. Our estimates imply that a 1-point decrease in past turnout lowers current turnout by 0.6-1.0 points. Further analyses suggest that habit formation operates by reinforcing the direct consumption value of voting and that our estimates may be amplified by social spillovers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-188
Number of pages29
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance


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