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A new solution to the collective action problem: the paradox of voter turnout

Kanazawa, Satoshi ORCID: 0000-0003-3786-8797 (2000) A new solution to the collective action problem: the paradox of voter turnout. American Sociological Review, 65 (3). pp. 433-442. ISSN 0003-1224

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Identification Number: 10.2307/2657465


Macy's work offers a potential solution to the paradox of voter turnout. The stochastic learning theory of voter turnout (Kanazawa 1998) posits that citizens perceive a correlation between their behavior (voting versus abstention) and the outcome of collective action (win versus loss for their candidate), and that they interpret the outcome as a reinforcer or a punisher. The theory can solve the paradox of voter turnout because now p, the probability that one's vote is or appears decisive, equals approximately .500 in the calculus-of-voting model (instead of p 0). I use General Social Survey data to test the theory. The empirical results indicate that citizens make their turnout decisions according to the "Win-Stay, Lose-Shift" pattern predicted by the stochastic learning theory, especially if there are no strong third-party candidates.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2000 American Sociological Association
Divisions: Management
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2008 12:01
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2021 00:42

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