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The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • David Dreyer Lassen

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

Do better informed people vote more? Recent theories of voter turnout emphasize a positive effect of being informed on the propensity to vote, but the possibility of endogenous information acquisition makes estimation of causal effects difficult. I estimate the causal effects of being informed on voter turnout using unique data from a natural experiment Copenhagen referendum on decentralization. Four of fifteen districts carried out a pilot project, exogenously making pilot city district voters more informed about the effects of decentralization. Empirical estimates based on survey data confirm a sizeable and statistically significant causal effect of being informed on the propensity to vote.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 04-03.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:04-03

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Keywords: voter turnout; information and voting; political participation; natural experiment;

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  1. Dee, Thomas S., 2004. "Are there civic returns to education?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1697-1720, August.
  2. Joshua Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," NBER Working Papers 8456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Valentino Larcinese, 2009. "Information Acquisition, Ideology and Turnout: Theory and Evidence From Britain," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 21(2), pages 237-276, April.
  4. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
  5. Klaauw, B. van der & Koning, R.H., 2000. "Testing the normality assumption in the sample selection model with an application to travel demand," Research Report 00F37, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
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