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The effects of voting costs on the democratic process and public finances

Author

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  • Hodler, Roland
  • Luechinger, Simon
  • Stutzer, Alois

    () (University of Basel)

Abstract

Increasing the attractiveness of voting is often seen as a remedy for unequal participation and the influence of special-interest groups on public policy. However, lower voting costs may also bring less informed citizens to the poll inviting efforts to sway these voters. We substantiate this argument in a probabilistic voting model with campaign contributions. In an empirical analysis for the 26 Swiss states, we find that lower voting costs due to postal voting are related to higher turnout, lower average education of participants, lower knowledge on the political issues they were deciding on as well as lower government welfare expenditures.

Suggested Citation

  • Hodler, Roland & Luechinger, Simon & Stutzer, Alois, 2012. "The effects of voting costs on the democratic process and public finances," Working papers 2012/02, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  • Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2012/02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Niklas Potrafke & Felix Rösel, 2016. "Opening Hours of Polling Stations and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6036, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Michael Klien & Mickael Melki & Andrew Pickering, 2018. "Voter Turnout and Intergenerational Redistribution," Discussion Papers 18/10, Department of Economics, University of York.
    3. Garmann, Sebastian, 2016. "Concurrent elections and turnout: Causal estimates from a German quasi-experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 167-178.
    4. Rainald Borck, 2018. "Political Participation and the Welfare State," CESifo Working Paper Series 7128, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Mechtenberg, Lydia & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2016. "Voter Motivation and the Quality of Democratic Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 11622, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. 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.
    7. Meier, Armando N. & Schmid, Lukas D. & Stutzer, Alois, 2016. "Rain, Emotions and Voting for the Status Quo," IZA Discussion Papers 10350, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. repec:kap:pubcho:v:171:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-016-0399-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Braendle, Thomas & Colombier, Carsten, 2016. "What drives public health care expenditure growth? Evidence from Swiss cantons, 1970–2012," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(9), pages 1051-1060.
    10. León, Gianmarco, 2017. "Turnout, political preferences and information: Experimental evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 56-71.
    11. Garmann, Sebastian, 2017. "Election frequency, choice fatigue, and voter turnout," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 19-35.
    12. Godefroy, Raphael & Henry, Emeric, 2016. "Voter turnout and fiscal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 389-406.
    13. repec:spr:sjecst:v:153:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_bf03399509 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Fernanda Leite Lopez Leon & Renata Rizzi, 2016. "Does forced voting result in political polarization?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 143-160, January.
    15. repec:ces:ifosdt:v:71:y:2018:i:05:p:23-26 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal policies; political knowledge; postal voting; special-interest politics; voter turnout; voting costs;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

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