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Everyone likes a winner: An empirical test of the effect of electoral closeness on turnout in a context of expressive voting

  • John Ashworth
  • Benny Geys

    ()

  • Bruno Heyndels

    ()

Under instrumental voting closer elections are expected to have higher turnout. Under expressive voting, however, turnout may increase with decreasing closeness when voters have a preference for winners. An empirical test using data on Belgian municipal elections supports this. We find that turnout reaches a local maximum when the largest party in the election obtains just over 52% of the seats and then falls (supporting the “instrumental” closeness-argument). There is, however, another turning point: the presence of a highly dominating party (receiving at least two-thirds of the votes) stimulates turnout despite the fact that dominance implies lower closeness. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-005-9006-8
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 128 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 383-405

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:128:y:2006:i:3:p:383-405
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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