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Turnout and Power Sharing

Author

Listed:
  • Helios Herrera
  • Massimo Morelli
  • Thomas Palfrey

Abstract

Differences in electoral rules and/or legislative, executive or legal institutions across countries induce different mappings from election outcomes to distributions of power. We explore how these different mappings affect voters’ participation in a democracy. Assuming heterogeneity in the cost of voting, the effect of such institutional differences on turnout depends on the distribution of voters’ preferences for the parties: when the two parties have similar support, turnout is higher in a winner-take-all system than in a power sharing system; the result is reversed when one side has a larger base. Moreover, the winner-take-all system has higher welfare if and only if the support is uneven. We compare the ‘size effect’ and the ‘underdog compensation effect’ under different systems. All systems induce an underdog compensation which is partial. Namely, unlike other costly voting models, the side with the larger support almost surely wins the majority of the votes. The results obtained in the rational voter model, characterized by the voter free-riding problem, continue to hold in other models of turnout such as ethical voter models and voter mobilization models.
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Suggested Citation

  • Helios Herrera & Massimo Morelli & Thomas Palfrey, 2014. "Turnout and Power Sharing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(574), pages 131-162, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:124:y:2014:i:574:p:f131-f162
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2014.124.issue-574
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hoffman, Mitchell & León, Gianmarco & Lombardi, María, 2017. "Compulsory voting, turnout, and government spending: Evidence from Austria," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 103-115.
    2. Marco Faravelli & Priscilla Man & Bang Dinh Nguyen, 2016. "Welfare comparison of electoral systems under power sharing," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(2), pages 413-429, August.
    3. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 2011. "Overcoming Ideological Bias in Elections," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(2), pages 183-211.
    4. Cesar Martinelli & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2017. "Communication and Information in Games of Collective Decision: A Survey of Experimental Results," Working Papers 1065, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    5. Jean Forand & Vikram Maheshri, 2015. "A dynamic Duverger’s law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 165(3), pages 285-306, December.
    6. Konstantinos Matakos & Orestis Troumpounis & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2014. "Turnout and polarization under alternative electoral systems," Working Papers 77401404, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    7. Godefroy, Raphael & Henry, Emeric, 2016. "Voter turnout and fiscal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 389-406.
    8. Aaron Kamm & Arthur Schram, 2013. "A Simultaneous Analysis of Turnout and Voting under Proportional Representation: Theory and Experiments," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-192/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Hans Peter Grüner & Thomas Tröger, 2018. "Linear voting rules," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_002_2018, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    10. Dimitrios Xefteris & Nicholas Ziros, 2017. "Strategic vote trading under complete information," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 03-2017, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    11. Alejandro Saporiti, 2014. "Power sharing and electoral equilibrium," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(3), pages 705-729, April.
    12. Dimitrios Xefteris & Nicholas Ziros, 2017. "Strategic Vote Trading in Power Sharing Systems," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 76-94, May.
    13. François Maniquet & Massimo Morelli, 2015. "Approval quorums dominate participation quorums," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(1), pages 1-27, June.
    14. Carlos Sanz, 2016. "The effect of electoral systems on voter turnout: evidence from a natural experiment," Working Papers 1623, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    15. Faravelli, Marco & Man, Priscilla & Walsh, Randall, 2015. "Mandate and paternalism: A theory of large elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-23.
    16. Melis Kartal, 2015. "Laboratory elections with endogenous turnout: proportional representation versus majoritarian rule," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(3), pages 366-384, September.
    17. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0457-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:eee:ecolet:v:160:y:2017:i:c:p:64-66 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0459-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Helios Herrera & Massimo Morelli & Salvatore Nunnari, 2014. "Turnout Across Democracies," NBER Working Papers 20451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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