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

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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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal policies; political knowledge; postal voting; special-interest politics; voter turnout; voting costs;
    All these keywords.

    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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