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The effect of randomized school admissions on voter participation

  • Hastings, Justine S.
  • Kane, Thomas J.
  • Staiger, Douglas O.
  • Weinstein, Jeffrey M.

There is little causal evidence on the effect of economic and policy outcomes on voting behavior. This paper uses randomized outcomes from a school choice lottery to examine if lottery outcomes affect voting behavior in a school board election. We show that losing the lottery has no significant impact on overall voting behavior; however, among white families, those with above median income and prior voting history, lottery losers were significantly more likely to vote than lottery winners. Using propensity score methods, we compare the voting of lottery participants to similar families who did not participate in the lottery. We find that losing the school choice lottery caused an increase in voter turnout among whites, while winning the lottery had no effect relative to non-participants. Overall, our empirical results lend support to models of expressive and retrospective voting, where likely voters are motivated to vote by past negative policy outcomes.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 91 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5-6 (June)
Pages: 915-937

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:91:y:2007:i:5-6:p:915-937
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Daniel P. Mayer & Paul E. Peterson & David E. Myers & Christina Clark Tuttle & William G. Howell, 2002. "School Choice in New York City After Three Years: An Evaluation of the School Choice Scholarships Program," Mathematica Policy Research Reports bd29adb569094778a5981be0e, Mathematica Policy Research.
  2. Epple, Dennis & Filimon, Radu & Romer, Thomas, 1993. "Existence of voting and housing equilibrium in a system of communities with property taxes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 585-610, November.
  3. Guido Imbens, 2000. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1166, Econometric Society.
  4. Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2005. "Parental Preferences and School Competition: Evidence from a Public School Choice Program," NBER Working Papers 11805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "Gender and Performance: Evidence from School Assignment by Randomized Lottery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 232-236, May.
  6. Guido W. Imbens, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review," NBER Technical Working Papers 0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
  8. Brunner, Eric & Sonstelie, Jon, 2003. "Homeowners, property values, and the political economy of the school voucher," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 239-257, September.
  9. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers And Student Achievement: An Evaluation Of The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602, May.
  10. Robert Barsky & John Bound & Kerwin Charles & Joseph Lupton, 2001. "Accounting for the Black-White Wealth Gap: A Nonparametric Approach," NBER Working Papers 8466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  12. Epple, Dennis & Filimon, Radu & Romer, Thomas, 1984. "Equilibrium among local jurisdictions: toward an integrated treatment of voting and residential choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 281-308, August.
  13. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2003. "The Effect of School Choice on Student Outcomes: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 10113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
  15. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
  16. repec:mpr:mprres:3180 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. repec:mpr:mprres:3181 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "Preferences and Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in a Public School Choice Lottery," NBER Working Papers 12145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Nechyba, Thomas J, 1999. " School Finance Induced Migration and Stratification Patterns: The Impact of Private School Vouchers," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(1), pages 5-50.
  20. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin & Andrea Moro, 2004. "The Performance of the Pivotal-Voter Model in Small-Scale Elections: Evidence from Texas Liquor Referenda," NBER Working Papers 10797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
  22. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  23. Brunner, Eric & Sonstelie, Jon & Thayer, Mark, 2001. "Capitalization and the Voucher: An Analysis of Precinct Returns from California's Proposition 174," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 517-536, November.
  24. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1998. "Public Education and Income Distribution: A Dynamic Quantitative Evaluation of Education-Finance Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 813-33, September.
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