Voting When the Stakes are High

44 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2010

See all articles by Gisle James James Natvik

Gisle James James Natvik

BI Norwegian Business School - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 8, 2010


Rational choice theories of electoral participation stress that an individual's decision to vote depends on her expected net benefit from doing so. If this instrumental motive is relevant, then turnout should be higher in elections where more is at stake. We test this prediction, by studying how turnout is affected by exogenous variation in governments' financial exibility to provide pork for their voters. By utilizing simultaneous elections for different offices, we identify a positive effect of election stakes on turnout.

Keywords: Voter Motivation, Elections, Turnout

JEL Classification: D72, H71

Suggested Citation

Natvik, Gisle James James, Voting When the Stakes are High (September 8, 2010). Norges Bank Working Paper 2010/15, Available at SSRN:

Gisle James James Natvik (Contact Author)

BI Norwegian Business School - Department of Economics ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0484

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