Voting when the stakes are high

Friday, 14 November 2014 - Jon H Fiva, Jørgen Juel Andersen


Most theories of voter behavior predict that electoral participation will be higher in elections where more is at stake. We test this prediction by studying how participation is a ected by exogenous variation in local governments' financial exibility to provide pork for their voters. Utilizing simultaneous elections for di erent of- ces, we identify a positive e ect of election stakes on participation: Higher stakes at the local level increase participation at the local relative to the regional election. Survey evidence indicates that the underlying mechanism relates to citizens' acquisition of information.

Andersen, Jørgen Juel, Jon H. Fiva and Gisle James Natvik. 2014. «Voting when the stakes are high.» Journal of Public Economics, 110:157-166

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