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External Validation of Voter Turnout Models by Concealed Parameter Recovery

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  • Antonio Merlo

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Thomas R.Palfrey

    ()
    (Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology)

Abstract

We conduct a model validation analysis of several behavioral models of voter turnout, using laboratory data. We call our method of model validation concealed parameter recovery, where estimation of a model is done under a veil of ignorance about some of the experimentally controlled parameters — in this case voting costs. We use quantal response equilibrium as the underlying, common structure for estimation, and estimate models of instrumental voting, altruistic voting, expressive voting, and ethical voting. All the models except the ethical model recover the concealed parameters reasonably well. We also report the results of a counterfactual analysis based on the recovered parameters, to compare the policy implications of the different models about the cost of a subsidy to increase turnout.

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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 13-012.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 11 Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:13-012

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Keywords: Turnout; voting; model validation; parameter recovery; laboratory experiments;

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  1. Coate, Stephen & Conlin, Michael & Moro, Andrea, 2008. "The performance of pivotal-voter models in small-scale elections: Evidence from Texas liquor referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 582-596, April.
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  13. O'Brien, John & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1991. " Dynamic Stock Markets with Multiple Assets: An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(5), pages 1811-38, December.
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  15. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  16. 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.
  17. Paul Pezanis-Christou & Andres Romeu, 2002. "Structural Inferences from First-Price Auction Experiments," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 531.02, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
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