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The Causal Impact Of Closeness On Electoral Participation Exploiting The Italian Dual Ballot System

Author

Listed:
  • Maria De Paola

    ()

  • Vincenzo Scoppa

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)

Abstract

Using data from Italian municipal elections from 1993 to 2011, we investigate whether political competition affects electoral turnout. Taking advantage of the dual ballot system adopted for municipalities with more than 15,000 inhabitants, we measure the expected closeness in the second round through the first round electoral results. Thanks to the richness of our dataset we are able to distinguish between valid, blank and invalid ballots and to investigate the effect of closeness on each of these variables, controlling for municipalities’ and candidates’ characteristics and for municipal fixed effects. We also estimate a Heckman selection model to take into account for the non-randomly selected sample. It emerges that closeness strongly increases valid ballots and reduces blank ballots supporting the idea that the expected benefits of voting increase in closer competitions. The effect is much higher in magnitude than that merging when measuring closeness with ex-post electoral results, suggesting a quite relevant endogeneity bias. On the other hand, we do not find any statistically significant effect on invalid ballots.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2012. "The Causal Impact Of Closeness On Electoral Participation Exploiting The Italian Dual Ballot System," Working Papers 201203, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
  • Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201203
    as

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    File URL: http://www.ecostat.unical.it/RePEc/WorkingPapers/WP03_2012.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
    2. Amrita Dhillon & Susana Peralta, 2002. "Economic Theories Of Voter Turnout," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages 332-352, June.
    3. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1993. "The Downsian Voter Meets the Ecological Fallacy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(4), pages 855-878, December.
    4. Christine Fauvelle-Aymar & Abel François, 2006. "The impact of closeness on turnout: An empirical relation based on a study of a two-round ballot," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 461-483, June.
    5. Gani Aldashev & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2010. "Invalid Ballots and Electoral Competition," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 153, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    6. Silvia Ferrari & Francisco Cribari-Neto, 2004. "Beta Regression for Modelling Rates and Proportions," Journal of Applied Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(7), pages 799-815.
    7. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. De Benedetto, Marco Alberto & De Paola, Maria, 2014. "Candidates' Quality and Electoral Participation: Evidence from Italian Municipal Elections," IZA Discussion Papers 8102, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. De Benedetto, Marco Alberto & De Paola, Maria, 2013. "The Impact of Incumbency on Turnout: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," IZA Discussion Papers 7612, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral Turnout; Closeness; Electoral Competition; Blank and Invalid Ballots;

    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
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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