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Turnout and Closeness: Evidence from 60 Years of Bavarian Mayoral Elections

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  • Felix Arnold

Abstract

One prediction of the calculus of voting is that electoral closeness positively affects turnout via a higher probability of one vote being decisive. I test this theory with data on all mayoral elections in the German state of Bavaria between 1946 and 2009. Importantly, I use constitutionally prescribed two-round elections to measure electoral closeness and thereby improve on existing work that mostly uses ex- post measures that are prone to endogeneity. The results suggest that electoral closeness matters: A one standard deviation increase in close- ness increases turnout by 1.68 percentage points, which corresponds to 1 6 of a standard deviation in this variable. I also evaluate how other factors like electorate size or rain on election day affect turnout differentially depending on the closeness of the race.

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Arnold, 2015. "Turnout and Closeness: Evidence from 60 Years of Bavarian Mayoral Elections," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1462, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1462
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    5. Andersen, Jørgen Juel & Fiva, Jon H. & Natvik, Gisle James, 2014. "Voting when the stakes are high," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 157-166.
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    9. Schild, Christopher-Johannes, 2013. "Do female mayors make a difference? Evidence from Bavaria," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 07/2013, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Turnout; closeness; mayoral elections; Bavaria; two-round ballot;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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