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Expected Benefits of Voting and Voter Turnout

Author

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  • Richard J. Cebula
  • Garey C. Durden

Abstract

This empirical study seeks to identify key aggregate-level economic and non-economic determinants of the expected benefits from voting and hence aggregate voter turnout. A unique dimension of this study is the hypothesis that PAC (political action committee) election campaign contributions, e.g., to U.S. Senate races, may reduce the expected benefits of voting and hence voter turnout because the greater the growth of real PAC contributions, the greater the extent to which eligible voters may become concerned that these contributions lead to PAC political influence over elected officials. Indeed, this study finds for the period 1960-2000 that the voter participation rate has been negatively impacted by the growth in real PAC contributions to Senate election campaigns. Another interesting finding is that voter turnout is directly/positively related to strong public approval or strong public disapproval of the incumbent President. This study also finds that the voter participation rate has been positively impacted by the opportunity to vote in Presidential elections, the Vietnam War, a “too slowly” growing real GDP, and inflation rates when they exceed five percent per annum. Furthermore, this study also finds the voter participation rate to have been negatively impacted by the public’s general dissatisfaction with government.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard J. Cebula & Garey C. Durden, 2007. "Expected Benefits of Voting and Voter Turnout," Working Papers 07-06, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:07-06
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    File URL: http://econ.appstate.edu/RePEc/pdf/wp0706.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Cebula, 2004. "Expressiveness and voting: Alternative evidence," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 32(3), pages 216-221, September.
    2. Ashenfelter, Orley C & Kelley, Stanley, Jr, 1975. "Determinants of Participation in Presidential Elections," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 695-733, December.
    3. Garey Durden & Steven Millsaps, 1996. "James Buchanan's contributions to social and economic thought: Citation counts, self-assessment, and peer review," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 133-151, June.
    4. Maske, Kellie & Durden, Garey, 2003. "The Contributions and Impact of Professor William H. Riker," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 117(1-2), pages 191-220, October.
    5. 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.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:01:p:65-75_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Thomas Schwartz, 1987. "Your vote counts on account of the way it is counted: An institutional solution to the paradox of not voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 101-121, January.
    8. Greene, Kenneth V & Nikolaev, Oleg, 1999. "Voter Participation and the Redistributive State," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(1-2), pages 213-226, January.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:62:y:1968:i:01:p:25-42_11 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Tilman Borgers, 2004. "Costly Voting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 57-66, March.
    11. Lapp, Miriam, 1999. "Incorporating Groups into Rational Choice Explanations of Turnout: An Empirical Test," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(1-2), pages 171-185, January.
    12. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. "Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-446, March.
    13. Cebula, Richard J & Koch, James V & Paul, Chris, 1998. "Income Tax Rates and the Public's Attitude toward Government in the United States: A Brief Empirical Note," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 53(3-4), pages 495-498.
    14. Knack, Steve, 1994. "Does Rain Help the Republicans? Theory and Evidence on Turnout and the Vote," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(1-2), pages 187-209, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Randall Bennett & Christine Loucks, 2011. "Financial Services Industry PAC Contributions and Senate Committee Membership," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 39(3), pages 203-216, September.
    2. Cebula, Richard & Unemori, Mary, 2005. "Potential Impact of Referenda and Initiatives on Voter Turnout: Evidence from the 1998 General Election," MPRA Paper 60064, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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