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The Performance of the Pivotal-Voter Model in Small-Scale Elections: Evidence from Texas Liquor Referenda

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  • Stephen Coate
  • Michael Conlin
  • Andrea Moro

Abstract

How well does the pivotal-voter model explain voter participation in small-scale elections? This paper explores this question using data from Texas liquor referenda. It first structurally estimates the parameters of a pivotal-voter model using the Texas data. It then uses the estimates to evaluate both the within and out-of-sample performance of the model. The analysis shows that the model is capable of predicting turnout in the data fairly well, but tends, on average, to predict closer electoral outcomes than are observed in the data. This difficulty allows the pivotal-voter model to be outperformed by a simple alternative model based on the idea of expressive voting.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10797.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10797

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  1. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
  2. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
  3. Tilman Börgers, 2001. "Costly Voting," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews, www.najecon.org 625018000000000232, www.najecon.org.
  4. Ghosal, Sayantan & Lockwood, Ben, 2003. "Information Aggregation, Costly Voting And Common Values," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS), University of Warwick, Department of Economics 670, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Goffe, William L & Ferrier, Gary D & Rogers, John, 1992. "Simulated Annealing: An Initial Application in Econometrics," Computer Science in Economics & Management, Society for Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 5(2), pages 133-46, May.
  6. Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
  7. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2006. "A Structural Model of Turnout and Voting in Multiple Elections," PIER Working Paper Archive, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania 07-011, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Feb 2007.
  2. Farber, Henry, 2014. "Union Organizing Decisions in a Deteriorating Environment: The Composition of Representation Elections and the Decline in Turnout," IZA Discussion Papers 7964, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Battaglini, Marco & Morton, Rebecca & Palfrey, Thomas R, 2006. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5458, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2005. "The Effect of Randomized School Admissions on Voter Participation," NBER Working Papers 11794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "A Structural Model of Turnout and Voting in Multiple Elections, Fourth Version," PIER Working Paper Archive, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania 07-025, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Aug 2007.
  6. Henry S. Farber, 2010. "Rational Choice and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Union Representation Elections," NBER Working Papers 16160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ming Li & Dipjyoti Majumdar, 2006. "A psychologically-based model of voter turnout," Working Papers, Concordia University, Department of Economics 08008, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2008.
  8. Henry S. Farber, 2009. "Rational Choice and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Union Representation Elections," Working Papers, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. 1200, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  9. Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Whither Political Economy? Theories, Facts and Issues," PIER Working Paper Archive, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania 05-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2005.
  10. John Duffy & Margit Tavits, 2006. "Beliefs and Voting Decisions: A Test of the Pivotal Voter Model," Working Papers, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics 273, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised May 2007.
  11. Eric J. Brunner & Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Is the Median Voter Decisive? Evidence of 'Ends Against the Middle' From Referenda Voting Patterns," Working papers, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics 2009-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised May 2010.
  12. Farber, Henry, 2010. "Rational Choice and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Union Representation Elections," IZA Discussion Papers 5033, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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