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Election Closeness and Voter Turnout: Evidence from California Ballot Propositions

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  • Matsusaka, J.C.

Abstract

This paper uses a new data set of 885 California ballot propositions from 1912 through 1990 to test the hypothesis that voter turnout increases as an election becomes closer. Various measures of voter participation are regressed on various measures of election closeness. The main finding is that there is not a systematic relation between closeness and turnout. Two conclusions are drawn: (1) voters are not sensitive to the probability their votes are decisive and (2) other studies that found higher turnout for close elections probably detected an increased mobilization of party elites in tight races. Copyright 1993 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Southern California - School of Business Administration in its series Papers with number 91-29.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 1991
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:socabu:91-29

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Postal: University of Southern California, School of BusinessAdministration, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1421.
Web page: http://www.marshall.usc.edu/
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Keywords: elections ; economic models;

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Cited by:
  1. Jeffrey Milyo & David M. Primo, 2005. "The Effects of Campaign Finance Laws on Turnout, 1950-2000," Working Papers 0516, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 01 Feb 2006.
  2. Gebhard Kirchgässner & Tobias Schulz, 2005. "Expected Closeness or Mobilisation: Why Do Voters Go to the Polls? Empirical Results for Switzerland, 1981 – 1999," CESifo Working Paper Series 1387, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Fink, Alexander, 2012. "The effects of party campaign spending under proportional representation: Evidence from Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 574-592.
  4. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Luís Francisco Aguiar-Conraria & Pedro C. Magalhães & Christoph A. Vanberg, 2013. "Experimental evidence that quorum rules discourage turnout and promote election boycotts," NIPE Working Papers 14/2013, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  6. Fosco, Constanza & Laruelle, Annick & Sánchez, Angel, 2009. "Turnout Intention and Social Networks," IKERLANAK 2009-34, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
  7. Mitch Kunce, 2001. "Pre-Election Polling and the Rational Voter: Evidence from State Panel Data (1986–1998)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 107(1), pages 21-34, April.
  8. Mirabelle Muûls & Dimitra Petropoulou, 2008. "A Swing-State Theory of Trade Protection in the Electoral College," CEP Discussion Papers dp0849, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Peter Calcagno & Christopher Westley, . "An Institutional Analysis of Voter Turnout: The Role of Primary Type and the Expressive and Instrumental Voting Hypotheses," Working Papers 1, Department of Economics and Finance, College of Charleston.
  10. Helios Herrera & Cesar Martinelli, 2005. "Group Formation and Voter Participation," Working Papers 0502, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  11. Richard Cebula & Franklin Mixon, 2012. "Dodging the vote?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 325-343, February.
  12. Joseph McMurray, 2008. "Information and Voting: the Wisdom of the Experts versus the Wisdom of the Masses," Wallis Working Papers WP59, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  13. Christine Fauvelle-Aymar & Abel François, 2006. "The impact of closeness on turnout: An empirical relation based on a study of a two-round ballot," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 461-483, June.
  14. Eisinga, R. & Franses, Ph.H.B.F. & van Dijk, D.J.C., 1997. "Timing of Vote Decision in First and Second Order Dutch Elections 1978-1995: Evidence from Artificial Neural Networks," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 9733/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
  15. Gary Roseman & E. Stephenson, 2005. "The Effect of Voting Technology on Voter Turnout: Do Computers Scare the Elderly?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 39-47, April.
  16. João Amaro de Matos & Pedro Barros, 2004. "Social Norms and the Paradox of Elections’ Turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 239-255, October.
  17. Adanu, Kwami & Hoehn, John P. & Norris, Patricia & Iglesias, Emma, 2012. "Voter decisions on eminent domain and police power reforms," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 187-194.

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