Re-Examining Voter Turnout in Large Elections
Duke University Economics Working Paper
20 Pages Posted: 9 May 2005
Date Written: May 2005
A well-known shortcoming of rational voter models is that the equilibrium probability that an individual votes converges to zero as the population of citizens tends to infinity. We show that this does not - as is often suggested - imply that equilibrium voter turnout is insignificant in the limit. We characterize limiting equilibrium turnout and show that it may actually be arbitrarily large. Indeed, expected equilibrium turnout is shown to be closely approximated by 1/(2*pi *L^2), where L is the lowest possible realization of an individual's voting cost.
Keywords: rational choice, costly voting, voter turnout
JEL Classification: C72, D72, D82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation