How Effective Are Monetary Incentives to Vote? Evidence from a Nationwide Policy

65 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2019

See all articles by Mariella Gonzales

Mariella Gonzales

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Gianmarco León-Ciliotta

Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Barcelona GSE; Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE); Institute for Political Economy and Governance, Barcelona; CEPR

Luis R. Martinez

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2019

Abstract

We combine two natural experiments, multiple empirical strategies and administrative data to study voters’ response to marginal changes to the fine for electoral abstention in Peru. A smaller fine leads to a robust decrease in voter turnout. However, the drop in turnout caused by a full fine reduction is less than 20% the size of that caused by an exemption from compulsory voting, indicating the predominance of the non-monetary incentives provided by the mandate to vote. Additionally, almost 90% of the votes generated by a marginally larger fine are blank or invalid, lending support to the hypothesis of rational abstention. Higher demand for information and larger long-run effects following an adjustment to the value of the fine point to the existence of informational frictions that limit adaptation to institutional changes.

Keywords: voter turnout, voter registration, compulsory voting, informational frictions, external validity, Peru

JEL Classification: D72, D78, D83, K42

Suggested Citation

Gonzales, Mariella and León-Ciliotta, Gianmarco and Martinez, Luis, How Effective Are Monetary Incentives to Vote? Evidence from a Nationwide Policy (July 2019). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2019-101, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3429272 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3429272

Mariella Gonzales

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/mariellagonzales

Gianmarco León-Ciliotta

Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
(+34) 93 542-1757 (Phone)
(+34) 93 542-1746 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/gianmarcoleon/

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE) ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, Catalonia 08014
Spain

Institute for Political Economy and Governance, Barcelona ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

CEPR ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Luis Martinez (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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