A Comparative Welfare Analysis of Electoral Systems with Endogenous Turnout
40 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2011 Last revised: 14 Feb 2014
Date Written: January 17, 2014
I investigate the welfare properties of a broad class of electoral systems with endogenous turnout. I find that the welfare ranking of electoral systems depends on the composition of the electorate. If citizens have identical voting costs, then all electoral systems that satisfy certain regularity properties generate the same level of welfare. If voting costs are heterogeneous, and the two parties are (almost) equally popular, then majority rule generates the highest welfare among these systems. I also analyse a model with heterogeneous and group-specific costs. I show that, under certain conditions, proportional representation dominates majority rule.
Keywords: electoral systems, turnout, welfare, costly voting
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