IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Rational Abstention and the Congressional Vote Choice


  • L. S. Rothenberg
  • M. Sanders


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:11:y:1999:i:3:p:311-340. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.