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How effective are monetary incentives to vote? Evidence from a nationwide policy

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Abstract

We combine two natural experiments, multiple empirical strategies and administrative data to study voters' response to marginal changes to the fine for electoral abstention in Peru. A smaller fine leads to a robust decrease in voter turnout. However, the drop in turnout caused by a full ne reduction is less than 20% the size of that caused by an exemption from compulsory voting, indicating the predominance of the non-monetary incentives provided by the mandate to vote. Additionally, almost 90% of the votes generated by a marginally larger ne are blank or invalid, lending support to the hypothesis of rational abstention. Higher demand for information and larger long-run effects following an adjustment to the value of the ne point to the existence of informational frictions that limit adaptation to institutional changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Gonzales Mariella & Gianmarco León-Ciliotta & Luis R. Martinez, 2018. "How effective are monetary incentives to vote? Evidence from a nationwide policy," Economics Working Papers 1667, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1667
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    voter turnout; voter registration; compulsory voting; informational frictions; external validity; Peru;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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