Self-signaling in voting

Lydia Mechtenberg, Grischa Perino, Nicolas Treich, Jean-Robert Tyran, Stephanie Wang

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


This paper presents a two-wave survey experiment to examine the impact of self-image concerns on voting behavior. We elicit votes on a ballot initiative on animal welfare in Switzerland that spurred campaigns involving widely shared normative values. We send a message to voters about scientific evidence supporting the claim that “good-hearted people tend to be good to animals.” We interpret this message as a factor that may alter the self-signaling value linked to voting in favor of the initiative. We investigate how this message affects selection and processing of information, as well as reported voting behavior. We find that the message is effective in several ways: voters agree more with arguments in favor of the initiative, are more likely to anticipate voting in favor, and do report having voted in favor of the initiative more often.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105070
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Issue number105070
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 502057 Experimental economics
  • 502010 Public finance
  • 502027 Political economy


  • Animal welfare
  • Information processing
  • Multi-wave field experiment
  • Self-image
  • Voting

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