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An Extension of the Rational Voter Model

Cebula, Richard and Tullock, Gordon (2005): An Extension of the Rational Voter Model. Published in: The Elgar Companion to Public Economics: Empirical Public Economics (28 May 2006): pp. 263-273.

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This extension of the rational voter model differs from prior studies in three ways: its adoption of aggregate voting data; its use of data that are non-demographic in nature; and its use of data that are time series rather than cross section. The study finds that the aggregate voter participation rate is higher when the public strongly approves of the President’s job performance. Aggregate voter turnout also is increased by the opportunity to participate in a Presidential election. It also appears that a highly unpopular or controversial war increases voter turnout. By contrast, it also is found that voter turnout decreases in the face of a scandal involving the President. Finally, the greater the per capita real disposable income of the American public, the lower the aggregate voter participation rate, presumably due to opportunity cost considerations.

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