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Voting when the Stakes are High

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  • Jørgen Juel Andersen
  • Jon H. Fiva
  • Gisle James Natvik

Abstract

Rational choice theories of electoral participation stress that an individual's decision to vote depends on her expected net benefit from doing so. If this instrumental motive is relevant, then turnout should be higher in elections where more is at stake. We test this prediction, by studying how turnout is affected by exogenous variation in governments’ financial flexibility to provide pork for their voters. By utilizing simultaneous elections for different offices, we identify a positive effect of election stakes on turnout.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3167.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3167

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Keywords: voter motivation; elections; turnout;

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References

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  1. Steven D. Levitt & James M. Snyder, Jr., 1995. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daniel Houser & Rebecca Morton & Thomas Stratmann, 2008. "Turned Off or Turned Out? Campaign Advertising,Information, and Voting," Working Papers, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science 1005, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised Jul 2008.
  3. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  4. Battaglini, Marco & Morton, Rebecca & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2006. "The Swing Voter’s Curse in the laboratory," Working Papers, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences 1263, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. Barry Nalebuff & Roni Shachar, 1997. "Follow The Leader: Theory And Evidence On Political Participation," Yale School of Management Working Papers, Yale School of Management ysm57, Yale School of Management.
  6. DeBacker, Jason, 2011. "The price of pork: The seniority trap in the U.S. House," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 63-78, February.
  7. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens Jr., 2011. "Employment, Wages and Voter Turnout," NBER Working Papers 17270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. DHILLON, Amrita & PERALTA, Susana, . "Economic theories of voter turnout," CORE Discussion Papers RP, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) -1563, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Haegeland, Torbjørn & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2008. "Pennies from Heaven? Using Exogeneous Tax Variation to Identify Effects of School Resources on Pupil Achievements," IZA Discussion Papers 3561, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. John Duffy & Margit Tavits, 2006. "Beliefs and Voting Decisions: A Test of the Pivotal Voter Model," Working Papers, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics 273, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised May 2007.
  11. Patricia Funk, 2010. "Social Incentives and Voter Turnout: Evidence from the Swiss Mail Ballot System," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1077-1103, 09.
  12. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "A Structural Model of Turnout and Voting in Multiple Elections," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-021, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Aug 2006.
  13. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F672-94, November.
  14. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Michael Sinkinson, 2009. "The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics," NBER Working Papers 15544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  16. Jon Fiva & Jørn Rattsø, 2007. "Local choice of property taxation: evidence from Norway," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 457-470, September.
  17. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  18. Jon H. Fiva & Olle Folke & Rune J. Sørensen, 2013. "The Power of Parties," CESifo Working Paper Series 4119, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  20. Blais, Andre & Young, Robert, 1999. " Why Do People Vote? An Experiment in Rationality," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 39-55, April.
  21. Thomas Schwartz, 1987. "Your vote counts on account of the way it is counted: An institutional solution to the paradox of not voting," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 101-121, January.
  22. Benny Geys, 2006. "'Rational' Theories of Voter Turnout: A Review," Political Studies Review, Political Studies Association, Political Studies Association, vol. 4(1), pages 16-35.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lars-Erik Borge & Pernille Parmer & Ragnar Torvik, 2013. "Local Natural Resource Curse?," Working Papers, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School 0014, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
  2. May Elsayyad & Kai A. Konrad, 2011. "Fighting Multiple Tax Havens," Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance fighting_multiple_tax_hav, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  3. Federico Revelli, 2013. "Tax limits and local democracy," Working Papers 2013/29, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  4. Jon H. Fiva & Olle Folke, 2011. "Mechanical and Psychological Effects of Electoral Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 3505, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Jon H. Fiva & Olle Folke & Rune J. Sørensen, 2013. "The Power of Parties," CESifo Working Paper Series 4119, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Janne Tukiainen & Teemu Lyytikäinen, 2013. "Voters are rational," Working Papers, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT) 50, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  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. Geys, Benny, 2012. "Success and failure in electoral competition: Selective issue emphasis under incomplete issue ownership," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism", Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) SP II 2012-102, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

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