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Voter Turnout and Fiscal Policy

  • Raphael Godefroy

    (Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques)

  • Emeric Henry

    (Département d'économie)

Though a large literature on the determinants of turnout has ourished, there is scant evidence on the causal impact of turnout on policies implemented in practice. Using data on French municipalities and instrumental variables for turnout based on temperature and inuenza variations, we show that a one percent increase in turnout decreases on average the municipalities' yearly budget by 1.5 percent. This is mostly due to a decrease in spending on equipment or personnel. We show that this could be the result of a negative effect of turnout on the strength of the incumbent's majority combined with the fact that the incumbent promises higher budgets. We argue, in the context of a theoretical model, that these different facts could be natural consequences of the well documented incumbency advantage.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09iats1f0hh
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  1. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2009. "Is mandatory voting better than voluntary voting?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 275-291, May.
  2. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3253-85, December.
  3. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  4. Husted, Thomas A & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1997. "The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 54-82, February.
  5. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  6. Enikolopov, Ruben & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2007. "Decentralization and political institutions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2261-2290, December.
  7. Knack, Steve, 1994. " Does Rain Help the Republicans? Theory and Evidence on Turnout and the Vote," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(1-2), pages 187-209, April.
  8. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
  9. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
  10. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2009. "Do Political Parties Matter? Evidence from U.S. Cities-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 399-422, February.
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