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Abstention because of Indifference and Alienation, and Its Consequences for Party Competition: A Simple Psychological Model

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  • Gebhard Kirchgässner

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Abstract

The basic idea behind this paper is that voters have to be able to distinguish the positions of the parties. Following Weber’s Law this depends on the relative distance with respect to their own optimal position. Using such a measure a model of voter participation is developed which allows for abstention because of indifference as well as alienation. Two variants of this model are applied on a two parties contest: one where participation is proportional to the relative distance and another one where voters participate if this distance is above a certain convergence to the median voter’s position.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2003 with number 2003-12.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2003:2003-12

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Keywords: Voting Behaviour; Abstention; Perception of Differences; Party Competition;

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  1. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  3. Kliemt, Hartmut, 1986. "The veil of insignificance," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 333-344.
  4. Martin J. Osborne, 1995. "Spatial Models of Political Competition under Plurality Rule: A Survey of Some Explanations of the Number of Candidates and the Positions They Take," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 261-301, May.
  5. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  6. James M. Buchanan, 1954. "Individual Choice in Voting and the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 334.
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