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How quorum rules distort referendum outcomes: evidence from a pivotal voter model

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Abstract

In many jurisdictions, whether referendum results are binding depend on certain legally defined quorum requirements. With a pivotal-voter model, we examine how quorum requirements affect voter’s behavior. We conclude that quorums can be the cause of lower turnout and that they can deliver outcomes that are an inadequate basis to make inferences about collective preferences. We further conclude that quorums may help minorities to impose their will on majorities and that they may create a bias against the status quo. Finally, they generate situations under which the secrecy of the vote is called into question.

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  • Luís Francisco Aguiar & Pedro C. Magalhães, 2009. "How quorum rules distort referendum outcomes: evidence from a pivotal voter model," NIPE Working Papers 17/2009, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  • Handle: RePEc:nip:nipewp:17/2009
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