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American Economic Review: Vol. 94 No. 5 (December 2004)

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A Group Rule-Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence

Article Citation

Coate, Stephen, and Michael Conlin. 2004. "A Group Rule-Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence." American Economic Review, 94(5): 1476-1504.

DOI: 10.1257/0002828043052231

Abstract

This paper explores a group rule–utilitarian approach to understanding voter turnout, inspired by the theoretical work of John C. Harsanyi (1980) and Timothy J. Feddersen and Alvaro Sandroni (2002). It develops a model based on this approach and studies its performance in explaining turnout in Texas liquor referenda. The results are encouraging: the comparative static predictions of the model are broadly consistent with the data, and a structurally estimated version of the model yields reasonable coefficient estimates and fits the data well. The structurally estimated model also outperforms a simple expressive voting model.

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Authors

Coate, Stephen
Conlin, Michael


American Economic Review


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