Participation and voting behavior in a direct democracy: a structural model of migration policy in Switzerland
In this paper, we analyze the political economy of immigration policy in a direct democracy setting. We formulate a structural model of voting and participation behavior integrating instrumental and expressive motivations. The model is estimated using data drawn from a survey carried out after a vote in Switzerland in 2000 on a popular initiative proposing to implement immigration restrictions. The model enables us to recover estimates of participation costs and preferences towards immigration and analyze how these preferences are translated into actual political outcomes. The results reveal a substantial gap ("participation bias") between attitudes towards immigration in the general population and the outcome of the vote.
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