Re-Examining Voter Turnout in Large Elections

Duke University Economics Working Paper

20 Pages Posted: 9 May 2005

See all articles by Curtis R. Taylor

Curtis R. Taylor

Duke University - Department of Economics

Huseyin Yildirim

Duke University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 2005

Abstract

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

Taylor, Curtis R. and Yildirim, Huseyin, Re-Examining Voter Turnout in Large Elections (May 2005). Duke University Economics Working Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=720232 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.720232

Curtis R. Taylor (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
919-660-1827 (Phone)
919-684-8974 (Fax)

Huseyin Yildirim

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
919-660-1805 (Phone)
919-684-8974 (Fax)

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