Elemental Tests of the Traditional Rational Voting Model
Posted: 8 May 2008 Last revised: 10 Jul 2009
A simple, robust, quasi-linear, structural general equilibrium rational voting model indicates turnout by voters motivated by the possibility of deciding the outcome is bell-curved in the ex-post winning margin and inversely proportional to electorate size. Applying this model to a large set of union certification elections, which often end in ties, yields exacting, lucid tests of the theory. Voter turnout is strongly related to election closeness, but not in the way predicted by the theory. Thus this relation is generated by some other mechanism, which is indeterminate, as no existing theory explains the nonlinear patterns of turnout in the data. A much earlier version was formerly circulated as "The Rationality of Voter Turnout in U.S. Union Certification Elections: 1994-2001."
Keywords: union certification elections, rational voter model, semiparametric regression
JEL Classification: D72, J59
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation