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Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory

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  • Matsusaka, John G

Abstract

Voting research is rich in empirical regularities, yet a parsimonious theory of voter turnout that can match the facts has proven to be elusive. This paper argues that voter turnout patterns can be explained by extending the traditional rational voter model to include limited information. A model is presented in which utility-maximizing consumers receive higher payoffs from voting the more confident they are of their vote choice. The model provides an explanation for the most important cross-sectional voter turnout patterns. In addition, it suggests a novel explanation for the post-1960 decline in U.S. participation. Copyright 1995 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:84:y:1995:i:1-2:p:91-117
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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:80:y:1986:i:02:p:567-588_18 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. John Roemer, 2003. "Political equilibrium with private or / and public campaign finance : A comparison of institutions," Working Papers hal-00242958, HAL.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:01:p:159-171_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Dougan, William R & Munger, Michael C, 1989. "The Rationality of Ideology," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 119-142, April.
    5. Goff, Brian L & Grier, Kevin B, 1993. "On the (Mis)measurement of Legislator Ideology and Shirking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(1-2), pages 5-20, June.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:57:y:1963:i:01:p:45-56_24 is not listed on IDEAS
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