Voters are rational
AbstractWe test whether voters are rational in the sense that their decision to vote depends on its expected impact on the election outcomes. By using exogenous variation in pivotal probabilities that arise at population thresholds determining council sizes in Finnish municipal elections, we provide the first causal evidence on this rational voting hypothesis. We find statistically significant, economically relevant and robust effects of crossing the threshold on turnout. Furthermore, we use a novel instrumental variables design to show that the changes in the pivotal probabilities rather than simultaneous changes in available candidates drive the results. Thus, the rational voter exists.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT) in its series Working Papers with number 50.
Date of creation: 27 Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- C29 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Other
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-10-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2013-10-18 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2013-10-18 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- S. Nageeb Ali & Charles Lin, 2013. "Why People Vote: Ethical Motives and Social Incentives," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 73-98, May.
- Coate, Stephen & Conlin, Michael & Moro, Andrea, 2008. "The performance of pivotal-voter models in small-scale elections: Evidence from Texas liquor referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 582-596, April.
- David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010.
"Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
- David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," NBER Working Papers 14723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Aaron Edlin & Andrew Gelman & Noah Kaplan, 2007. "Voting as a Rational Choice: Why and How People Vote to Improve the Well-Being of Others," NBER Working Papers 13562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jørgen Juel Andersen & Jon H. Fiva & Gisle James Natvik, 2013.
"Voting When the Stakes Are High,"
0017, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
- Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
- John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
- Mulligan, Casey B & Hunter, Charles G, 2003.
" The Empirical Frequency of a Pivotal Vote,"
Springer, vol. 116(1-2), pages 31-54, July.
- Casey B. Mulligan & Charles G. Hunter, 2001. "The Empirical Frequency of a Pivotal Vote," NBER Working Papers 8590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Casey B. Mulligan & Charles G. Hunter, 2000. "The Empirical Frequency of a Pivotal Vote," Working Papers 0025, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995.
"The Swing Voter's Curse,"
1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Fujiwara, Thomas, 2011. "A Regression Discontinuity Test of Strategic Voting and Duverger's Law," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 6(3â4), pages 197-233, November.
- Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
- Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2011.
"A Structural Model Of Turnout And Voting In Multiple Elections,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
European Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-245, 04.
- Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2006. "A Structural Model of Turnout and Voting in Multiple Elections," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-011, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Feb 2007.
- 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.
- Alan Gerber & Donald Green & Matthew Green, 2003. "Partisan mail and voter turnout: Results from randomized field experiments," Natural Field Experiments 00250, The Field Experiments Website.
- Patricia Funk, 2010. "Social Incentives and Voter Turnout: Evidence from the Swiss Mail Ballot System," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1077-1103, 09.
- Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2004.
"Does the Size of the Legislature Affect the Size of Government? Evidence from Two Natural Experiments,"
350, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
- Pettersson-Lidbom, Per, 2012. "Does the size of the legislature affect the size of government? Evidence from two natural experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 269-278.
- Levitt, Steven D, 1994. "Using Repeat Challengers to Estimate the Effect of Campaign Spending on Election Outcomes in the U.S. House," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 777-98, August.
- Jon H. Fiva & Olle Folke, 2011. "Mechanical and Psychological Effects of Electoral Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 3505, CESifo Group Munich.
- McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
- Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
- Stephen Ansolabehere & John M. de Figueiredo & James M. Snyder Jr, 2003. "Why is There so Little Money in U.S. Politics?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 105-130, Winter.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anita Niskanen).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.