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Voting when the stakes are high

  • Gisle James Natvik


    (Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))

  • Jørgen Juel Andersen


    (Norwegian School of Management)

  • Jon H. Fiva


    (University of Oslo)

Rational choice theories of electoral participation stress that an individual's decision to vote depends on her expected net benefit from doing so. If this instrumental motive is relevant, then turnout should be higher in elections where more is at stake. We test this prediction, by studying how turnout is affected by exogenous variation in governments' financial exibility to provide pork for their voters. By utilizing simultaneous elections for different offices, we identify a positive effect of election stakes on turnout.

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Paper provided by Norges Bank in its series Working Paper with number 2010/15.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 30 Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bno:worpap:2010_15
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  6. 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.
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  8. John Duffy & Margit Tavits, 2006. "Beliefs and Voting Decisions: A Test of the Pivotal Voter Model," Working Papers 273, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised May 2007.
  9. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Daniel Houser & Rebecca Morton & Thomas Stratmann, 2008. "Turned Off or Turned Out? Campaign Advertising,Information, and Voting," Working Papers 1005, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised Jul 2008.
  11. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "A Structural Model of Turnout and Voting in Multiple Elections," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-021, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Aug 2006.
  13. Torbjørn Hægeland & Oddbjørn Raaum & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "Pennies from heaven. Using exogenous tax variation to identify effects of school resources on pupil achievement," Discussion Papers 508, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  14. Benny Geys, 2006. "'Rational' Theories of Voter Turnout: A Review," Political Studies Review, Political Studies Association, vol. 4(1), pages 16-35.
  15. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  16. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens Jr., 2011. "Employment, Wages and Voter Turnout," NBER Working Papers 17270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jon Fiva & Jørn Rattsø, 2007. "Local choice of property taxation: evidence from Norway," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 457-470, September.
  18. DHILLON, Amrita & PERALTA, Susana, . "Economic theories of voter turnout," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1563, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  19. DeBacker, Jason, 2011. "The price of pork: The seniority trap in the U.S. House," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 63-78, February.
  20. Jon H. Fiva & Olle Folke & Rune J. Sørensen, 2013. "The Power of Parties," CESifo Working Paper Series 4119, CESifo Group Munich.
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  24. Patricia Funk, 2010. "Social Incentives and Voter Turnout: Evidence from the Swiss Mail Ballot System," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1077-1103, 09.
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