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Victory margins and the paradox of voting

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  • Castanheira, Micael

Abstract

This paper addresses a simple question: why do people vote? Though simple, this question remains unanswered despite the considerable attention it has received. In this paper, I show that purely rational-instrumental factors explain a large fraction of turnout variations, provided that the effect of the margin of victory on implemented policy is considered. I extend Myerson's models of elections based on Poisson games, and show that, when platforms are responsive to vote shares, the predictions of the model become consistent with several stylized facts, including the secular fall in turnout rates in the US. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Suggested Citation

  • Castanheira, Micael, 2003. "Victory margins and the paradox of voting," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 817-841, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:19:y:2003:i:4:p:817-841
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Brody & Benjamin Page, 1973. "Indifference, alientation and rational decisions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-17, June.
    2. Micael Castanheira, 2003. "Why Vote For Losers?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1207-1238, September.
    3. George Stigler, 1972. "Economic competition and political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 91-106, September.
    4. Harbaugh, W T, 1996. "If People Vote Because They Like to, Then Why Do So Many of Them Lie?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 89(1-2), pages 63-76, October.
    5. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
    6. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-424, June.
    7. Russell Settle & Buron Abrams, 1976. "The determinants of voter participation: A more general model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 81-89, September.
    8. Ashenfelter, Orley C & Kelley, Stanley, Jr, 1975. "Determinants of Participation in Presidential Elections," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 695-733, December.
    9. Ronny Razin, 2003. "Signaling and Election Motivations in a Voting Model with Common Values and Responsive Candidates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1083-1119, July.
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:62:y:1968:i:01:p:25-42_11 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:cup:apsrev:v:86:y:1992:i:03:p:725-736_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:cup:apsrev:v:68:y:1974:i:02:p:525-536_11 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Yoram Barzel & Eugene Silberberg, 1973. "Is the act of voting rational?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 51-58, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Degan, Arianna & Li, Ming, 2015. "Psychologically-based voting with uncertainty," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 242-259.
    2. McMurray, Joseph, 2017. "Voting as communicating: Mandates, multiple candidates, and the signaling voter's curse," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 199-223.
    3. R. Aytimur & Aristotelis Boukouras & Robert Schwager, 2014. "Voting as a signaling device," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(3), pages 753-777, April.
    4. Sobbrio, Francesco & Navarra, Pietro, 2010. "Electoral participation and communicative voting in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 185-207, June.
    5. François Maniquet & Massimo Morelli, 2015. "Approval quorums dominate participation quorums," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(1), pages 1-27, June.
    6. Haldun Evrenk & Chien-Yuan Sher, 2015. "Social interactions in voting behavior: distinguishing between strategic voting and the bandwagon effect," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(3), pages 405-423, March.
    7. Matias Nunez, 2007. "Approval voting and the Poisson-Myerson environment," Working Papers hal-00243049, HAL.
    8. Bouton, Laurent & Castanheira, Micael & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, 2017. "Multicandidate elections: Aggregate uncertainty in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 132-150.
    9. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0457-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Chyi-Lu Jang & Chun-Ping Chang, 2016. "Vote Buying and Victory of Election: The Case of Taiwan," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2016(5), pages 591-606.
    11. Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2017. "Wisdom of the Crowd? Information Aggregation and Electoral Incentives," MPRA Paper 82753, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Faravelli, Marco & Man, Priscilla & Walsh, Randall, 2015. "Mandate and paternalism: A theory of large elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-23.
    13. Marco Faravelli & Priscilla Man & Bang Dinh Nguyen, 2016. "Welfare comparison of electoral systems under power sharing," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(2), pages 413-429, August.
    14. Aguiar-Conraria, Luís & Magalhães, Pedro C., 2010. "How quorum rules distort referendum outcomes: Evidence from a pivotal voter model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 541-557, December.
    15. Helios Herrera & Massimo Morelli & Salvatore Nunnari, 2014. "Turnout Across Democracies," NBER Working Papers 20451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Hortala-Vallve, Rafael & Esteve-Volart, Berta, 2011. "Voter turnout and electoral competition in a multidimensional policy space," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 376-384, June.

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