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Whether one votes and how one votes


  • Rodney Fort
  • Douglas Bunn


The aim of this paper is to determine if whether one votes effects the vote that is cast. Using an economic model of voting and observed voting results on nuclear power referenda, the answer is a resounding yes. Overcoming registration, turnout, and “roll off” hurdles dramatically increases the odds of voting against nuclear power. Indeed, participation swamps both economic and preference variables in the explanation of nuclear power voting outcomes. The lesson is that there is a structure to participation at the polls that should not be ignored by those interested in analyzing voting outcomes. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney Fort & Douglas Bunn, 1998. "Whether one votes and how one votes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 51-62, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:95:y:1998:i:1:p:51-62
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1004934330814

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Susan Feigenbaum & Lynn Karoly & David Levy, 1988. "When votes are words not deeds: Some evidence from the Nuclear Freeze Referendum," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(3), pages 201-216, September.
    2. Fort, Rodney, 1995. "A Recursive Treatment of the Hurdles to Voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(1-2), pages 45-69, October.
    3. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    4. Deacon, Robert T & Shapiro, Perry, 1975. "Private Preference for Collective Goods Revealed Through Voting on Referenda," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 943-955, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Carattini & Andrea Baranzini & Philippe Thalmann & Frédéric Varone & Frank Vöhringer, 2017. "Green Taxes in a Post-Paris World: Are Millions of Nays Inevitable?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(1), pages 97-128, September.
    2. Martorana, Marco F. & Mazza, Isidoro, 2012. "Adaptive voting: an empirical analysis of participation and choice," MPRA Paper 36165, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Timo Goeschl, 2005. "Non-binding linked-issues referenda: Analysis and an application," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(3), pages 249-266, September.
    4. Sanne Zwart, 2010. "Ensuring a representative referendum outcome: the daunting task of setting the quorum right," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 34(4), pages 643-677, April.
    5. Hillman, Arye L., 2010. "Expressive behavior in economics and politics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 403-418, December.
    6. Sanne Zwart, 2007. "Fixing the Quorum: Representation versus Abstention," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/07, European University Institute.

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