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A Propensity Score Reweighting Approach to Estimating the Partisan Effects of Full Turnout in American Presidential Elections

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  • Brunell, Thomas L.
  • DiNardo, John

Abstract

Borrowing an approach from the literature on the economics of discrimination, we estimate the impact of nonvoters on the outcome of presidential elections from 1952–2000 using data from the National Election Study (NES). Our estimates indicate that nonvoters are, on average, slightly more likely to support the Democratic Party. Of the 13 presidential elections between 1952 and 2000 we find no change in the eventual outcome of the election with two possible exceptions: 1980 and 2000. Thus our results are not all that dissimilar from other research on participation. Higher turnout in the form of compulsory voting would not radically change the partisan distribution of the vote. When elections are sufficiently close, however, a two percentage point increase may suffice to affect the outcome. Limitations of the NES data we use suggest that our estimates underestimate the impact of nonparticipation. We also compare our method with other econometric techniques. Finally, using our findings we speculate as to why the Democratic Party fails to undertake widespread “get out the vote†or registration drives.

Suggested Citation

  • Brunell, Thomas L. & DiNardo, John, 2004. "A Propensity Score Reweighting Approach to Estimating the Partisan Effects of Full Turnout in American Presidential Elections," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 28-45, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:polals:v:12:y:2004:i:01:p:28-45_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Decio Coviello & Andrea Guglielmo & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2015. "The Effect of Discretion on Procurement Performance," CEIS Research Paper 361, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 17 Nov 2015.
    2. Wenjie Chen & Heiwai Tang, 2014. "The Dragon Is Flying West: Micro-level Evidence of Chinese Outward Direct Investment," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 31(2), pages 109-140, September.
    3. Gunther Bensch & Jörg Peters, 2011. "Combating Deforestation? – Impacts of Improved Stove Dissemination on Charcoal Consumption in Urban Senegal," Ruhr Economic Papers 0306, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Bensch, Gunther & Peters, Jörg, 2011. "Combating Deforestation? – Impacts of Improved Stove Dissemination on Charcoal Consumption in Urban Senegal," Ruhr Economic Papers 306, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Zeqin Liu & Zongwu Cai & Ying Fang & Ming Lin, 2019. "Statistical Analysis and Evaluation of Macroeconomic Policies: A Selective Review," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 201904, University of Kansas, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2019.
    6. Gunther Bensch & Michael Grimm & Jörg Peters, 2014. "Why Do Households Forego High Returns from Technology Adoption - Evidence from Improved Cook Stoves in Burkina Faso," Ruhr Economic Papers 0498, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    7. repec:zbw:rwirep:0498 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Grimm, Michael & Peters, Jörg, 2014. "Beer, Wood, and Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 8719, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
      • Grimm, Michael & Peters, Jörg, 2015. "Beer, Wood, and Welfare," Ruhr Economic Papers 538, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    9. Bensch, Gunther & Grimm, Michael & Peters, Jörg, 2015. "Why do households forego high returns from technology adoption? Evidence from improved cooking stoves in Burkina Faso," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 187-205.
    10. Kohler, Ulrich, 2009. "Estimating the potential impact of nonvoters on outcomes of parlimentary elections in proportional systems with the applications to German national elections from 1949 to 2005," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2009-206, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    11. Kohler, Ulrich & Rose, Richard, 2008. "Election outcomes and maximizing turnout: Modelling the effect," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2008-203, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    12. Fernanda Leite Lopez Leon & Renata Rizzi, 2016. "Does forced voting result in political polarization?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 143-160, January.
    13. repec:zbw:rwirep:0306 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Bocoum, Fadima & Grimm, Michael & Hartwig, Renate & Zongo, Nathalie, 2019. "Can information increase the understanding and uptake of insurance? Lessons from a randomized experiment in rural Burkina Faso," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 220(C), pages 102-111.
    15. Austin Nichols, 2008. "Erratum and discussion of propensity-score reweighting," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 532-539, December.
    16. Decio Coviello & Andrea Guglielmo & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2018. "The Effect of Discretion on Procurement Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(2), pages 715-738, February.
    17. Michael Grimm & Jörg Peters, 2015. "Beer, Wood, and Welfare," Ruhr Economic Papers 0538, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    18. Nillesen, Eleonora & Grimm, Michael & Goedhuys, Micheline & Reitmann, Ann-Kristin & Meysonnat, Aline, 2019. "On the Malleability of Implicit Attitudes Towards Women Empowerment: Evidence from Tunisia," IZA Discussion Papers 12471, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Grimm, Michael & Peters, Jörg, 2013. "Impact evaluation of improved stove use among dolo-beer breweries in Burkina Faso: FAFASO," RWI Projektberichte, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, number 111431.
    20. Miller, Luke C. & Mittleman, Joel, 2012. "High Schools That Work and college preparedness: Measuring the model's impact on mathematics and science pipeline progression," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1116-1135.
    21. Bilotkach, Volodymyr & Kawata, Keisuke & Kim, Tae Seung & Park, Jaehong & Purwandono, Putut & Yoshida, Yuichiro, 2019. "Quantifying the impact of low-cost carriers on international air passenger movements to and from major airports in Asia," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 28-57.
    22. Giovanni Cerulli, 2013. "treatrew: A user-written Stata routine for estimating average treatment effects by reweighting on propensity score," United Kingdom Stata Users' Group Meetings 2013 02, Stata Users Group.
    23. D’Ambrosio, Anna & Leombruni, Roberto & Razzolini, Tiziano, 2017. "Native-Migrant Differences in Trading Off Wages and Workplace Safety," IZA Discussion Papers 10523, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    24. Bensch, Gunther & Grimm, Michael & Peters, Jörg, 2014. "Why Do Households Forego High Returns from Technology Adoption - Evidence from Improved Cook Stoves in Burkina Faso," Ruhr Economic Papers 498, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    25. repec:zbw:rwirep:0538 is not listed on IDEAS

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