Do as I say or do as I do? How social relationships shape the impact of descriptive and injunctive norms of voting.

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  • University of Manchester


Social norms play an important role in our understanding of why people vote, yet there is very little known about the relative importance of descriptive and injunctive norms for voter turnout or how normative influence is affected by the political and social relationship between citizens. Using political discussion network data from the British Election Study we examine the joint effect of descriptive and injunctive norms on turnout. We demonstrate that citizens follow the example of those closest to them (descriptive norms), especially their partner, but they also respond to social approval of voting from political discussants regardless of the nature of their relationship


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2020


  • injunctive norms, descriptive norms, turnout, civic duty, political discussion, networks, voting