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Taxes and Turnout

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  • Felix Bierbrauer
  • Aleh Tsyvinski
  • Nicolas D. Werquin

Abstract

We develop a model of political competition with endogenous turnout and endogenous platforms. Parties face a trade-off between maximizing their base and getting their supporters out to vote. We study the implications of this framework for non-linear income taxation. In equilibrium, both parties propose the same tax policy. This equilibrium policy is a weighted combination of two terms, one reflecting the parties’ payoff from mobilizing their own supporters, one reflecting the payoff from demobilizing the supporters of the other party. The key determinant of the equilibrium policy is the distribution of the voters’ party attachments rather than their propensity to swing vote. Our analysis also provides a novel explanation for why even left-leaning parties may not propose high taxes on the rich.

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Bierbrauer & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas D. Werquin, 2017. "Taxes and Turnout," NBER Working Papers 24123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24123
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ingela Alger & Jean-François Laslier, 2021. "Homo moralis goes to the voting booth: a new theory of voter turnout," PSE Working Papers halshs-03152172, HAL.
    2. Alberto Grillo, 2020. "Ethical Voting in Heterogenous Groups," Working Papers halshs-02962464, HAL.
    3. Martin F. Hellwig, 2021. "Social Choice in Large Populations with Single-Peaked Preferences," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2021_18, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    4. Alberto Grillo, 2020. "Ethical Voting in Heterogenous Groups," AMSE Working Papers 2034, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France, revised Apr 2021.
    5. Kaba, Mustafa, 2022. "Who buys vote-buying? How, how much, and at what cost?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 98-124.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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