We test the turnout predictions of the standard two-party, private value, costly voting model through a large, real effort experiment. We do this by recruiting 1,200 par- ticipants through Amazon Mechanical Turk and employing a 2 x 2 between subjects design encompassing small (N = 30) and large (N = 300) elections, as well as symmetric and asymmetric ones. We find evidence of the size effect in asymmetric elections and of the competition effect in large elections. We also find evidence of underdog effect in small elections but, contrary to theoretical predictions, we observe bandwagon behavior in large elections. We propose a behavioral model that accounts for these results.
Costly Voting: A Large-scale Real Effort Experiment (with Marco Faravelli and Carlos Pimienta)