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The Effects of Voting Costs on the Democratic Process and Public Finances

  • Roland Hodler
  • Simon Luechinger
  • Alois Stutzer

    ()

    (University of Basel)

Abstract Increasing the attractiveness of voting is often seen as a remedy for unequal par- ticipation� 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.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel in its series Working papers with number 2012/02.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2012/02
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  1. Schaltegger, Christoph A & Kuttel, Dominique, 2002. " Exit, Voice, and Mimicking Behavior: Evidence from Swiss Cantons," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(1-2), pages 1-23, October.
  2. Alois Stutzer & Lukas Kienast, 2005. "Demokratische Beteiligung und Staatsausgaben: Die Auswirkungen des Frauenstimmrechts," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 141(IV), pages 617-650, December.
  3. Gradstein. Mark & Milanovic, Branko, 2002. "Does Liberte = Egalite ? A survey of the empirical links between democracy and inequality with some evidence on the transition economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2875, The World Bank.
  4. W. Mark Crain & Mary L. Leonard, 1993. "The Right Versus The Obligation To Vote: Effects On Cross-Country Government Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 43-51, 03.
  5. John Gibson & Bonggeun Kim & Steven Stillman & Geua Boe-Gibson, 2013. "Time to vote?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 517-536, September.
  6. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2009. "Is mandatory voting better than voluntary voting?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 275-291, May.
  7. Husted, Thomas A & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1997. "The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 54-82, February.
  8. Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer:, . "Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland," IEW - Working Papers 119, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. Jo Thori Lind & Dominic Rohner, 2011. "Knowledge is Power - A Theory of Information, Income, and Welfare Spending," CESifo Working Paper Series 3613, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2011. "Does Direct Democracy Reduce the Size of Government? New Evidence from Historical Data, 1890–2000," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(557), pages 1252-1280, December.
  11. Tim Wegenast, 2010. "Uninformed Voters for Sale: Electoral Competition, Information and Interest Groups in the US," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 271-300, 05.
  12. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Feld, Lars P., 2009. "Do large cabinets favor large governments? Evidence on the fiscal commons problem for Swiss Cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 35-47, February.
  13. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 2011. "Overcoming Ideological Bias in Elections," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(2), pages 183 - 211.
  14. Larcinese Valentino, 2005. "Electoral Competition and Redistribution with Rationally Informed Voters," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-28, June.
  15. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  16. 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.
  17. David Dreyer Lassen, 2004. "The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  18. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  19. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens Jr., 2011. "Employment, Wages and Voter Turnout," NBER Working Papers 17270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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