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Victory margins and the paradox of voting

  • Micael Castanheira De Moura

This paper addresses a simple question: why do people vote? Though simple, this question remains unanswered despite the considerable attention it has received. In this paper, I show that purely rational-instrumental factors explain a large fraction of turnout variations, provided that the effect of the margin of victory on implemented policy is considered. I extend Myerson's models of elections based on Poisson games, and show that, when platforms are responsive to vote shares, the predictions of the model become consistent with several stylized facts, including the secular fall in turnout rates in the US. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/10009.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Publication status: Published in: European journal of political economy (2003) v.19 n° 4,p.817-841
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/10009
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  1. William T. Harbaugh, 1996. "If people vote because they like to, then why do so many of them lie?," Public Economics 9606002, EconWPA.
  2. Russell Settle & Buron Abrams, 1976. "The determinants of voter participation: A more general model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 81-89, September.
  3. George Stigler, 1972. "Economic competition and political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 91-106, September.
  4. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Ashenfelter, Orley C & Kelley, Stanley, Jr, 1975. "Determinants of Participation in Presidential Elections," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 695-733, December.
  6. Roger B. Myerson, 1997. "Large Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1189, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Richard Brody & Benjamin Page, 1973. "Indifference, alientation and rational decisions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-17, June.
  8. Castanheira, Micael, 2002. "Why Vote for Losers?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3404, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Yoram Barzel & Eugene Silberberg, 1973. "Is the act of voting rational?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 51-58, September.
  10. Ronny Razin, 2003. "Signaling and Election Motivations in a Voting Model with Common Values and Responsive Candidates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1083-1119, 07.
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