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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. 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.
  2. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
  3. Tilman Börgers, 2001. "Costly Voting," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 625018000000000232, www.najecon.org.
  4. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
  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, vol. 5(2), pages 133-46, May.
  6. Ghosal, Sayantan & Lockwood, Ben, 2003. "Information Aggregation, Costly Voting And Common Values," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 670, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Battaglini, Marco & Morton, Rebecca & Palfrey, Thomas, 2005. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," Papers 03-13-2006, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  2. Eric J. Brunner & Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Is the Median Voter Decisive? Evidence of 'Ends Against the Middle' From Referenda Voting Patterns," Working papers 2009-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised May 2010.
  3. 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.
  4. Ming Li & Dipjyoti Majumdar, 2006. "A psychologically-based model of voter turnout," Working Papers 08008, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2008.
  5. Henry S. Farber, 2010. "Rational Choice and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Union Representation Elections," NBER Working Papers 16160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "A Structural Model of Turnout and Voting in Multiple Elections, Fourth Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-025, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Aug 2007.
  8. 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).
  9. Farber, Henry, 2010. "Rational Choice and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Union Representation Elections," IZA Discussion Papers 5033, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Whither Political Economy? Theories, Facts and Issues," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2005.
  11. Henry S. Farber, 2009. "Rational Choice and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Union Representation Elections," Working Papers 1200, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..

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