Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Factors Influencing Interregional Differentials in the Voter Participation Rate in the U.S., 2006

Cebula, Richard and Coombs, Christopher (2008): Factors Influencing Interregional Differentials in the Voter Participation Rate in the U.S., 2006. Published in: Handbook of Regional Economics (29. April 2009): pp. 253-262.

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Abstract

The voter participation rate in the U.S. varies significantly from one region to another. At the state level, the percentage of the population that was eligible to vote and that actually did so ranged from a low of 33.5 percent (Texas) to a high of 62.1 percent (South Dakota). The purpose of this chapter is to identify key economic, political, and demographic factors that influenced this interregional voter turnout rate differential. Using state-level data for the 2006 general election, this study examines the roles played by income, unemployment, education, age, race, and labor force participation. In addition, this empirical study seeks to broaden the interpretation of the “rational voter model” so as to include the potential effects of the number of statewide legislative referenda. In particular, this study tests the hypothesis that greater numbers of such referenda increase voter turnout because they elevate the expected gross benefits of voting by “empowering voters” while not significantly increasing the expected gross costs of voting.

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