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Voting as a Signaling Device

  • R. Emre Aytimur

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Aristotelis Boukouras

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Robert Schwager

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

In this paper, citizens vote in order to influence the election outcome and in order to signal their unobserved characteristics to others. The model is one of rational voting and generates the following predictions: (i) The paradox of not voting does not arise, because the benefi t of voting does not vanish with population size. (ii) Turnout in elections is positively related to the size of the local community and the importance of social interactions. (iii) Voting may exhibit bandwagon e ffects and small changes in the electoral incentives may generate large changes in turnout due to signaling effects. (iv) Signaling incentives increase the sensitivity of turnout to voting incentives in communities with low opportunity cost of social interaction, while the opposite is true for communities with high cost of social interaction. Therefore, the model predicts less volatile turnout for the latter type of communities.

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Paper provided by Courant Research Centre PEG in its series Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers with number 108.

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Date of creation: 26 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:108
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  1. Helios Herrera & Cesar Martinelli, 2005. "Group Formation and Voter Participation," Working Papers 0502, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
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  13. DHILLON, Amrita & PERALTA, Susana, . "Economic theories of voter turnout," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1563, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  14. R. Emre Aytimur & Aristotelis Boukouras & Robert Schwager, 2012. "Voting as a Signaling Device," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 108, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  15. Aldashev, Gani, 2010. "Political Information Acquisition for Social Exchange," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, April.
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  17. Arianna Degan, 2013. "Civic duty and political advertising," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 531-564, March.
  18. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
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  20. Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2003. "Victory margins and the paradox of voting," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10009, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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