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Learning in elections and voter turnout

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  • DEMICHELIS, Stefano
  • DHILLON, Amrita

Abstract

Game theoretic models of voter turnout have recently fallen into disrepute because the crucial ingredient of the model, the probability of being pivotal for an individual voter, is infinitesimal in large elections. Moreover such models are plagued by the problem of multiple equilibria. We show that assuming voters to be boundedly rational instead of fullyrational helps to ameliorate both these problems. Modelling the dynamics of voter learning in such a context leads to a unique equilibrium with a high probability, which increases with the number of voters. This inables the derivation of testable implications of the theory: increases in costs of voting affect turnout adversely but there may be persistence of turnoutlevels between elections even though costs and other parameters change. Increase in uncertainty increases turnout while increases in the size of the electorate decrease it, in line with intuitions.

Suggested Citation

  • DEMICHELIS, Stefano & DHILLON, Amrita, 2002. "Learning in elections and voter turnout," LIDAM Discussion Papers CORE 2002045, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2002045
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    Cited by:

    1. Christos Mavridis & Marco Serena, 2018. "Complete information pivotal-voter model with asymmetric group size," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 177(1), pages 53-66, October.
    2. Nöldeke, Georg & Peña, Jorge, 2016. "The symmetric equilibria of symmetric voter participation games with complete information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 71-81.
    3. Martorana, Marco Ferdinando, 2011. "Voting Behaviour in a dynamic perspective: a survey," MPRA Paper 37592, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Sebastian Garmann, 2020. "Political efficacy and the persistence of turnout shocks," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 411-429, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    voter participation; voter learning; asymptotically stable equilibrium; Markov chain; long run equilibria;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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