Estimating the Willingness to Pay for Voting When Absentee Voting Is Not Allowed
33 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2017 Last revised: 16 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 16, 2017
The existing studies based on the well known rational voter theory analyze voter turnout as the aggregate of individuals' binary choice of to vote or not to vote. However, when people need to travel to vote, the cost associated with different travel modes directly affects their voting decisions. We thus generalize the rational voter theory by taking an individual's specific choice of travel mode into account. Considering that individuals may have different responses to traveling costs, we further allow the disutility from voting to be heterogeneous across individuals. Although our proposed discrete choice model is much more flexible than previous ones in these two respects, we show that it can be estimated via the method of Berry, Levinsohn and Pakes (1995) with either individual-level or aggregate level data. We then use traveling and census data to analyze voters' behavior in Taiwan where absentee voting is not allowed, such that people may need to travel quite a long distance to vote. As compared to the observed 30.14% turnout rates of non-registered voters in Taiwan's 2014 local elections, the counterfactual simulations herein suggest that the turnout rates would be 56.49% if convenient voting were to be allowed, such as e-voting.
Keywords: Rational voter theory; travel mode; structural model; turnout.
JEL Classification: D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation