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.
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