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An institutional analysis of voter turnout: the role of primary type and the expressive and instrumental voting hypotheses

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  • Peter Calcagno

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  • Christopher Westley

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Abstract

Recent events highlight primary type as an institutional variable that merits further examination in the economics literature on voter turnout. Using panel data for U.S. gubernatorial elections and treating primary type as a proxy for candidate deviation from the median voter, we test whether primary type changes voter turnout and whether that change is dominated by instrumental or expressive voting. The results show that states with more open primaries tend to have greater voter turnout in general elections and that this increase reflects the effect of open primaries on expressive voting.
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Suggested Citation

  • Peter Calcagno & Christopher Westley, 2008. "An institutional analysis of voter turnout: the role of primary type and the expressive and instrumental voting hypotheses," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 94-110, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:19:y:2008:i:2:p:94-110
    DOI: 10.1007/s10602-007-9034-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jennings, Colin & Drinkwater, Stephen, 2012. "An Analysis of the Electoral Use of Policy on Law and Order by New Labour," SIRE Discussion Papers 2012-77, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    2. Stephen Drinkwater & Colin Jennings, 2017. "Expressive voting and two-dimensional political competition: an application to law and order policy by New Labour in the UK," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 79-96, March.
    3. Hamlin, Alan & Jennings, Colin, 2011. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(03), pages 645-670, July.
    4. Arenas, Andreu, 2016. "Sticky votes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 12-25.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voter turnout; Primary voting; Expressive voting; Instrumental voting; D72; H11;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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