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Turnout and Power Sharing

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  • Helios Herrera
  • Massimo Morelli

Abstract

Differences in electoral rules and/or legislative, executive or legal institutions across countries induce different mappings from election outcomes to distributions of power. We explore how these different mappings affect voters’ participation in a democracy. Assuming heterogeneity in the cost of voting, the effect of such institutional di¤erences on turnout depends on the distribution of voters’ preferences for the parties: when the two parties have similar support, turnout is higher in a winner-take-all system than in a power sharing system; the result is reversed when one side has a larger base. Moreover, the winner-take-all system has higher welfare if and only if the support is uneven. We compare the ‘size effect’ and the ‘underdog compensation effect’ under different systems. All systems induce an underdog compensation which is partial. Namely, unlike other costly voting models, the side with the larger support almost surely wins the majority of the votes. The results obtained in the rational voter model, characterized by the voter free-riding problem, continue to hold in other models of turnout such as ethical voter models and voter mobilization models.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2010/12.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2010/12

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Related research

Keywords: Proportional Influence; Winner-Take-All; Underdog Compensation;

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Cited by:
  1. Jean Guillaume Forand & Vikram Maheshri, 2013. "A Dynamic Duverger's Law," Working Papers 1304, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2013.
  2. MANIQUET, François & MORELLI, Massimo & ,, 2013. "Approval quorums dominate participation quorums," CORE Discussion Papers 2013054, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).

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