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Everyone likes a winner: An empirical test of the effect of electoral closeness on turnout in a context of expressive voting

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  • John Ashworth
  • Benny Geys

    ()

  • Bruno Heyndels

    ()

Abstract

Under instrumental voting closer elections are expected to have higher turnout. Under expressive voting, however, turnout may increase with decreasing closeness when voters have a preference for winners. An empirical test using data on Belgian municipal elections supports this. We find that turnout reaches a local maximum when the largest party in the election obtains just over 52% of the seats and then falls (supporting the “instrumental” closeness-argument). There is, however, another turning point: the presence of a highly dominating party (receiving at least two-thirds of the votes) stimulates turnout despite the fact that dominance implies lower closeness. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 128 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 383-405

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:128:y:2006:i:3:p:383-405

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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  8. Geys, Benny & Heyndels, Bruno, 2006. "Disentangling the effects of political fragmentation on voter turnout: the Flemish municipal elections," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2006-07, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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Cited by:
  1. Sanne Zwart, 2007. "Fixing the Quorum: Representation versus Abstention," Economics Working Papers, European University Institute ECO2007/07, European University Institute.
  2. Elena Panova, 2011. "A Passion for Democracy," CIRANO Working Papers 2011s-47, CIRANO.
  3. Avi Ben-Bassat & Momi Dahan, 2012. "Social identity and voting behavior," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 193-214, April.
  4. Amihai Glazer, 2008. "Voting to anger and to please others," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 247-254, March.
  5. Peter Calcagno & Christopher Westley, 2008. "An institutional analysis of voter turnout: the role of primary type and the expressive and instrumental voting hypotheses," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 94-110, June.
  6. Alan Hamlin & Colin Jennings, 2009. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," Working Papers 0918, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
  7. Claus Michelsen & Peter Boenisch & Benny Geys, 2014. "(De)Centralization and voter turnout: theory and evidence from German municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 469-483, June.
  8. Hillman, Arye L., 2010. "Expressive behavior in economics and politics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 403-418, December.
  9. Dennis, Christopher & Medoff, Marshall H. & Magnera, Michael, 2008. "Constituents' economic interests and senator support for spending limitations," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2443-2453, December.
  10. Richard Cebula & Franklin Mixon, 2012. "Dodging the vote?," Empirical Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 325-343, February.

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