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Voter Turnout and City Performance

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Listed:
  • Anna Lo Prete

    () (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Torino)

  • Federico Revelli

    () (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Torino)

Abstract

We study the impact of exogenous variation in Italian municipal elections'voter turnout rates on city performance scores and elected mayors' indicators of valence. First, we build a simple model of voluntary and costly expressive voting, where the relative weight of ideology and valence issues over voting costs determines how people vote, and if they actually turn out to vote. We show that the cost of voting depresses voter turnout, yet can raise the chances of selecting higher valence candidates and thereby improve government performance. Em- pirically, city performance is measured along a number of dimensions including a unique index of overall urban environmental quality, and mayors'valence is proxied by variables reflecting their professional experience and competence. The staggered nature of the municipal election schedule allows us to exploit exogenous variation in voter turnout rates through the 2000s due to the pres- ence of concomitant regional, general and European parliament elections, and to weather conditions (rainfall) on the election day. The results from a number of specifications and quality of policy-making indicators consistently point to a negative impact of voter turnout rates on the performance of cities and the valence of mayors.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Lo Prete & Federico Revelli, 2014. "Voter Turnout and City Performance," Working papers 10, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
  • Handle: RePEc:ipu:wpaper:10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuele Bracco & Federico Revelli, 2017. "Concurrent Elections and Political Accountability: Evidence from Italian Local Elections," Working Papers 170337308, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    2. Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier, 2015. "The Partisan Effects of Voter Turnout: How Conservatives Profit from Rainy Election Days," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1463, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Emanuele Bracco & Federico Revelli, 2017. "Concurrent Elections and Political Accountability: Evidence from Italian Local Elections," Working Papers 170337308, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    4. Federico Revelli, 2015. "The electoral migration cycle," Working papers 37, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    5. repec:spr:italej:v:3:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s40797-017-0050-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Federico Revelli, 2017. "Voter Turnout in Italian Municipal Elections, 2002–2013," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), pages 151-165.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & David Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson & Brendan Price, 2016. "Import Competition and the Great US Employment Sag of the 2000s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 141-198.
    8. Garmann, Sebastian, 2016. "Concurrent elections and turnout: Causal estimates from a German quasi-experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 167-178.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    local elections; voter turnout; urban environmental quality; weather;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation

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