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Are voters rational?

Lyytikainen, Teemu and Tukiainen, Janne (2019) Are voters rational? European Journal of Political Economy, 59. pp. 230-242. ISSN 0176-2680

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2019.03.001


We test whether a voter’s decision to cast a vote depends on its probability of affecting the election outcome. Using exogenous variation arising at population cutoffs determining council sizes in Finnish municipal elections, we show that larger council size increases both pivotal probabilities and turnout. These effects are statistically significant, fairly large and robust. Finally, we use a novel instrumental variables design to show that the jumps in the pivotal probabilities are the likely candidate for explaining the increase in turnout, rather than the other observed simultaneous jumps at the council size cutoffs. Moreover, our results indicate that turnout responds only to within-party pivotal probabilities, perhaps because they are more salient to the voters than the between-party ones.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
Divisions: School of Public Policy
?? SCPP ??
Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making > D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2019 12:06
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 22:15

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