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A Structural Model of Turnout and Voting in Multiple Elections

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  • Arianna Degan

    ()
    (Département des sciences économiques, Université du Québec à Montréal)

  • Antonio Merlo

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

In this paper, we propose a unified approach to study participation and voting in multiple elections. The theoretical framework combines an “uncertain-voter” model of turnout with a spatial model of voting behavior. We apply our framework to study turnout and voting in U.S. national (presidential and congressional) elections, and structurally estimate the model using individual-level data for the 2000 elections. The estimated model replicates the patterns of abstention, selective abstention, split-ticket voting, and straight-ticket voting observed in the data. We also quantify the relationships between observed individual characteristics and unobserved citizens’ ideological preferences, information, and civic duty. Finally, we assess the effects of policies that may increase citizens’ information and sense of civic duty on their turnout and voting behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 06-021.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2004
Date of revision: 01 Aug 2006
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:06-021

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Keywords: elections; turnout; selective abstention; split-ticket voting;

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  1. Amrita Dhillon & Susana Peralta, 2002. "Economic Theories Of Voter Turnout," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F332-F352, June.
  2. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
  3. 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.
  4. Tilman Börgers, 2001. "Costly Voting," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 625018000000000232, www.najecon.org.
  5. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2002. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-037, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Sep 2004.
  6. Chari, V V & Jones, Larry E & Marimon, Ramon, 1997. "The Economics of Split-Ticket Voting in Representative Democracies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 957-76, December.
  7. James J. Heckman & James M. Snyder, Jr., 1996. "Linear Probability Models of the Demand for Attributes with an Empirical Application to Estimating the Preferences of Legislators," NBER Working Papers 5785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Arianna Degan, 2006. "Policy Positions, Information Acquisition and Turnout," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(4), pages 669-682, December.
  9. 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.
  10. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
  11. 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.
  12. Alesina, Alberto & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "A Theory of Divided Government," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1311-41, November.
  13. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
  14. Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983. "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
  15. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  16. Arianna Degan, 2007. "Candidate Valence: Evidence From Consecutive Presidential Elections," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(2), pages 457-482, 05.
  17. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin & Andrea Moro, 2004. "The Performance of the Pivotal-Voter Model in Small-Scale Elections: Evidence from Texas Liquor Referenda," NBER Working Papers 10797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Stephen Hansen & Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1987. "The Downsian model of electoral participation: Formal theory and empirical analysis of the constituency size effect," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 15-33, January.
  19. Ron Shachar, 2003. "Party loyalty as habit formation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 251-269.
  20. Zeelenberg, Marcel & van Dijk, Wilco W. & Manstead, Antony S. R., 2000. "Regret and Responsibility Resolved? Evaluating Ordonez and Connolly's (2000) Conclusions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 143-154, January.
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