Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence from Texas Liquor Referenda
Stephen Coate, Michael Conlin
NBER Working Paper No. 8720
This paper uses data from Texas liquor referenda to explore a new approach to understanding voter turnout, inspired by the theoretical work of Harsanyi (1980) and Feddersen and Sandroni (2001). It presents a model based on this approach and structurally estimates it using the referendum data. It then compares the performance of the model with two alternative models of turnout. The results are encouraging: the structural estimation yields sensible parameter estimates and the model performs better than the two alternatives considered.
Published: Coate, Stephen and Michael Conlin. "A Group Rule—Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence." American Economic Review 94, 5 (December 2004): 1476-1504.