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Journal Article

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

Stephen Coate and Michael Conlin
The American Economic Review
Vol. 94, No. 5 (Dec., 2004), pp. 1476-1504
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3592831
Page Count: 29
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A Group Rule: Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence
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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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