Diffusion and spatial equilibrium of a social norm: voting participation in the United States, 1920–2008

Diffusion and spatial equilibrium of a social norm: voting participation in the United States,... Social conformity can spread social norms and behaviors through a society. This research examines such a process geographically and over time for voting, which is strongly influenced by the norm that citizens should vote. A mathematical model for the spread of voting participation under the influence of social conformity is developed based on the diffusion equation, and predictions are tested with spatial analysis of state-level voter turnout in American presidential elections from 1920 to 2008. Results show that voter turnout has converged to a stable equilibrium in its geographical distribution across the states—but it is an equilibrium that results in persistent differences at the state level. Results are compared to individual-level and agent-based models. The model may be applied to other types of social diffusion that depend on specific geographical location. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

Diffusion and spatial equilibrium of a social norm: voting participation in the United States, 1920–2008

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Social Sciences, general; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11135-013-9873-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Social conformity can spread social norms and behaviors through a society. This research examines such a process geographically and over time for voting, which is strongly influenced by the norm that citizens should vote. A mathematical model for the spread of voting participation under the influence of social conformity is developed based on the diffusion equation, and predictions are tested with spatial analysis of state-level voter turnout in American presidential elections from 1920 to 2008. Results show that voter turnout has converged to a stable equilibrium in its geographical distribution across the states—but it is an equilibrium that results in persistent differences at the state level. Results are compared to individual-level and agent-based models. The model may be applied to other types of social diffusion that depend on specific geographical location.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: May 23, 2013

References

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