35 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2020 Last revised: 22 Jan 2021
Date Written: January 22, 2021
This study examines the dynamic nature of voting in modern elections with wide voting windows. Our stylized two-period model predicts that, if voters are not myopic, turnout in the current period tends to increase as the costs in the other period increase. The model also produces a surprising prediction that overall turnout can increase even when the costs increase. We test these predictions using novel data from Japan's General Election in 2017 with a weather disruption caused by a powerful typhoon. Our analyses show that the tremendous costs on Election Day shifted the timing of voting and did not decrease overall turnout in 2017, as compared to 2014. Our model and findings build a new benchmark to understand how voters decide their timing of voting. This study also has implications for the unprecedented popularity of early voting in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Keywords: Elections, Voter turnout, Dynamic Voting, Typhoon, Natural Experiment
JEL Classification: D01, D72, D81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation