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Election Closeness and Voter Turnout: Evidence from California Ballot Propositions

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  • Matsusaka, John G

Abstract

This paper uses a new data set of 885 California ballot propositions from 1912 through 1990 to test the hypothesis that voter turnout increases as an election becomes closer. Various measures of voter participation are regressed on various measures of election closeness. The main finding is that there is not a systematic relation between closeness and turnout. Two conclusions are drawn: (1) voters are not sensitive to the probability their votes are decisive and (2) other studies that found higher turnout for close elections probably detected an increased mobilization of party elites in tight races. Copyright 1993 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 76 (1993)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 313-34

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:76:y:1993:i:4:p:313-34

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

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Cited by:
  1. Gebhard Kirchgässner & Tobias Schulz, 2005. "Expected Closeness or Mobilisation: Why Do Voters Go to the Polls? Empirical Results for Switzerland, 1981 – 1999," CESifo Working Paper Series 1387, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Richard Cebula & Franklin Mixon, 2012. "Dodging the vote?," Empirical Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 325-343, February.
  3. Helios Herrera & Cesar Martinelli, 2005. "Group Formation and Voter Participation," Working Papers, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM 0502, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  4. Dimitra Petropoulou & Mirabelle Muuls, 2007. "A Swing-State Theory of Trade Protection in the Electoral College," Economics Series Working Papers 372, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Peter Calcagno & Christopher Westley, . "An Institutional Analysis of Voter Turnout: The Role of Primary Type and the Expressive and Instrumental Voting Hypotheses," Working Papers 1, Department of Economics and Finance, College of Charleston.
  6. Jeffrey Milyo & David M. Primo, 2005. "The Effects of Campaign Finance Laws on Turnout, 1950-2000," Working Papers, Department of Economics, University of Missouri 0516, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 01 Feb 2006.
  7. João Amaro de Matos & Pedro Barros, 2004. "Social Norms and the Paradox of Elections’ Turnout," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 239-255, October.
  8. Luís Francisco Aguiar-Conraria & Pedro C. Magalhães & Christoph A. Vanberg, 2013. "Experimental evidence that quorum rules discourage turnout and promote election boycotts," NIPE Working Papers, NIPE - Universidade do Minho 14/2013, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  9. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-24, June.
  10. Mitch Kunce, 2001. "Pre-Election Polling and the Rational Voter: Evidence from State Panel Data (1986–1998)," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 107(1), pages 21-34, April.
  11. Fink, Alexander, 2012. "The effects of party campaign spending under proportional representation: Evidence from Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 574-592.
  12. Eisinga, R. & Franses, Ph.H.B.F. & van Dijk, D.J.C., 1997. "Timing of Vote Decision in First and Second Order Dutch Elections 1978-1995: Evidence from Artificial Neural Networks," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 9733/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
  13. Christine Fauvelle-Aymar & Abel François, 2006. "The impact of closeness on turnout: An empirical relation based on a study of a two-round ballot," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 461-483, June.
  14. Fosco, Constanza & Laruelle, Annick & Sánchez, Angel, 2009. "Turnout Intention and Social Networks," IKERLANAK 2009-34, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
  15. Adanu, Kwami & Hoehn, John P. & Norris, Patricia & Iglesias, Emma, 2012. "Voter decisions on eminent domain and police power reforms," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 187-194.
  16. Joseph McMurray, 2008. "Information and Voting: the Wisdom of the Experts versus the Wisdom of the Masses," Wallis Working Papers, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy WP59, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  17. Gary Roseman & E. Stephenson, 2005. "The Effect of Voting Technology on Voter Turnout: Do Computers Scare the Elderly?," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 39-47, April.

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