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Rational Abstention and the Congressional Vote Choice

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  • L. S. Rothenberg
  • M. Sanders

Abstract

Research on voting, particularly on legislative behavior, tends to focus on the choices of those casting ballots. Yet, intuitively, abstentions and vote choice should be jointly determined. As such, the relevance of participation depends upon both the extent to which it can be explained by the costs and the benefits of voting and on the nature of the interactions between participation and preferences. To this end, we provide a framework for explaining roll call behavior that simultaneously considers legislators' decisions about whether and how to vote. Application to roll call voting in the 104th Congress finds that abstention and voting choices are integrated; our approach generates sensible and substantively important results which yield important insights into legislative behavior and public policy. Copyright 1999 Blackwell Publishers Ltd..

Suggested Citation

  • L. S. Rothenberg & M. Sanders, 1999. "Rational Abstention and the Congressional Vote Choice," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 311-340, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:11:y:1999:i:3:p:311-340
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2008:i:25:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Neil Longley, 2003. "Modeling the Legislator as an Agent for the Party: The Effects of Strict Party Discipline on Legislator Voting Behavior," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(4), pages 490-499, October.
    3. Borck, Rainald & Owings, Stephanie, 2003. "The political economy of intergovernmental grants," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 139-156, March.
    4. Jacobi, Tonja & Kontorovich, Eugene, 2015. "Why judges always vote," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 190-199.

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