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Quorum and Turnout in Referenda

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  • Helios Herrera
  • Andrea Mattozzi

Abstract

We analyze the effect of turnout requirements in referenda in the context of a group turnout model. We show that a participation quorum requirement may reduce the turnout so severely that it generates a "quorum paradox": In equilibrium, the expected turnout exceeds the participation quorum only if this requirement is not imposed. Furthermore, a participation quorum does not necessarily imply a bias for the status quo. We also show that in order to induce a given expected turnout and avoid the quorum paradox, the quorum should be set at a level that is lower than half the target. Finally, we argue that a super majority requirement to overturn the status quo is never equivalent to a participation quorum. (JEL: D72) (c) 2010 by the European Economic Association.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Helios Herrera & Andrea Mattozzi, 2010. "Quorum and Turnout in Referenda," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 838-871, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:8:y:2010:i:4:p:838-871
    DOI: j.1542-4774.2010.tb00542.x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1542-4774.2010.tb00542.x
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    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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