An Institutional Analysis of Voter Turnout: The Role of Primary Type and the Expressive and Instrumental Voting Hypotheses

36 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2008 Last revised: 3 Aug 2011

See all articles by Peter Calcagno

Peter Calcagno

College of Charleston - Department of Economics and Finance

Christopher Westley

Florida Gulf Coast University

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

Recent events highlight primary type as an institutional variable that merits further examination in the economics literature on voter turnout. Using panel data for U.S. gubernatorial elections and treating primary type as a proxy for candidate deviation from the median voter, we test whether primary type changes voter turnout and whether that change is dominated by instrumental or expressive voting. The results show that states with more open primaries tend to have greater voter turnout in general elections and that this increase reflects the effect of open primaries on expressive voting.

Keywords: voting, median voter, primaries, shirking, expressive voting, instrumental voting

JEL Classification: D72, H11

Suggested Citation

Calcagno, Peter and Westley, Christopher, An Institutional Analysis of Voter Turnout: The Role of Primary Type and the Expressive and Instrumental Voting Hypotheses (2008). Constitutional Political Economy, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 94-110, June 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1079713

Peter Calcagno (Contact Author)

College of Charleston - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
United States

Christopher Westley

Florida Gulf Coast University ( email )

Ft. Myers, FL 33965-6565
United States

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