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A psychologically-based model of voter turnout

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Abstract

We analyze a psychologically-based model of voter turnout. Potential voters experience regret if they fail to vote, which is the motivation for participation in voting. Regret from abstention is inversely related to the margin of victory. Voters on the winner's side experience less regret than those on the loser's side. We show that the unique equilibrium involves positive voter turnout. We show that the losing side has higher turnout. In addition, voter turnout is positively related to importance of the election and the competitiveness of the election. We also consider scenarios in which voters are uncertain about the composition of the electorate's political preferences and show similar phenomena emerge.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Concordia University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 08008.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision: Dec 2008
Handle: RePEc:crd:wpaper:08008

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Keywords: voter turnout; regret; economics and psychology;

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  1. Humberto Llavador, 2005. "Voting with Preferences over Margins of Victory," Working Papers 230, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
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  10. Feddersen, Timothy & Sandroni, Alvaro, 2006. "Ethical Voters and Costly Information Acquisition," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 287-311, July.
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  13. 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.
  14. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin & Andrea Moro, 2004. "The Performance of the Pivotal-Voter Model in Small-Scale Elections: Evidence from Texas Liquor Referenda," NBER Working Papers 10797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Sieg, Gernot & Schulz, Christof, 1995. " Evolutionary Dynamics in the Voting Game," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(1-2), pages 157-72, October.
  16. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
  17. Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "The calculus of ethical voting," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 1-25, December.
  18. Steven Callander, 2007. "Bandwagons and Momentum in Sequential Voting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 653-684.
  19. Pieters, Rik & Zeelenberg, Marcel, 2005. "On bad decisions and deciding badly: When intention-behavior inconsistency is regrettable," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 18-30, May.
  20. David K. Levine & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2006. "The Paradox of Voter Participation? A Laboratory Study," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000188, UCLA Department of Economics.
  21. Taylor, Curtis & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2005. "Public Information and Electoral Bias," Working Papers 05-11, Duke University, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Elena Panova, 2011. "A Passion for Democracy," CIRANO Working Papers 2011s-47, CIRANO.
  2. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2014. "Behavioral public choice: A survey," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 14/03, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..

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