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Expected Benefits of Voting and Voter Turnout

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  • Richard J. Cebula
  • Garey C. Durden

Abstract

This empirical study seeks to identify key aggregate-level economic and non-economic determinants of the expected benefits from voting and hence aggregate voter turnout. A unique dimension of this study is the hypothesis that PAC (political action committee) election campaign contributions, e.g., to U.S. Senate races, may reduce the expected benefits of voting and hence voter turnout because the greater the growth of real PAC contributions, the greater the extent to which eligible voters may become concerned that these contributions lead to PAC political influence over elected officials. Indeed, this study finds for the period 1960-2000 that the voter participation rate has been negatively impacted by the growth in real PAC contributions to Senate election campaigns. Another interesting finding is that voter turnout is directly/positively related to strong public approval or strong public disapproval of the incumbent President. This study also finds that the voter participation rate has been positively impacted by the opportunity to vote in Presidential elections, the Vietnam War, a “too slowly” growing real GDP, and inflation rates when they exceed five percent per annum. Furthermore, this study also finds the voter participation rate to have been negatively impacted by the public’s general dissatisfaction with government.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Appalachian State University in its series Working Papers with number 07-06.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:07-06

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Phone: 828-262-2148
Fax: 828-262-6105
Web page: http://www.business.appstate.edu/departments/economics/
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References

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  1. Lapp, Miriam, 1999. " Incorporating Groups into Rational Choice Explanations of Turnout: An Empirical Test," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(1-2), pages 171-85, January.
  2. Tilman Börgers, 2001. "Costly Voting," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 625018000000000232, www.najecon.org.
  3. Garey Durden & Steven Millsaps, 1996. "James Buchanan's contributions to social and economic thought: Citation counts, self-assessment, and peer review," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 133-151, June.
  4. Knack, Steve, 1994. " Does Rain Help the Republicans? Theory and Evidence on Turnout and the Vote," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(1-2), pages 187-209, April.
  5. Garey C. Durden & Kellie Maske, 2001. "The Contributions and Impact of Professor William H. Riker," Working Papers 01-06, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  6. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  7. Greene, Kenneth V & Nikolaev, Oleg, 1999. " Voter Participation and the Redistributive State," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(1-2), pages 213-26, January.
  8. Ashenfelter, Orley C & Kelley, Stanley, Jr, 1975. "Determinants of Participation in Presidential Elections," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 695-733, December.
  9. Cebula, Richard J & Koch, James V & Paul, Chris, 1998. "Income Tax Rates and the Public's Attitude toward Government in the United States: A Brief Empirical Note," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 53(3-4), pages 495-98.
  10. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Randall Bennett & Christine Loucks, 2011. "Financial Services Industry PAC Contributions and Senate Committee Membership," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 39(3), pages 203-216, September.

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