Voter Turnout and Political Rents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Is the decline in voter turnout an indicator of a worse health of a representative democracy? We build a simple probabilistic-voting model with endogenous turnout to address this question. We find that a lower turnout caused by a higher cost of voting implies higher political rents. Contrarily, a lower turnout caused by a higher ideological mobility of voters or by a lower expressive benefit of voting implies lower political rents. If voters have a civic-duty motive to vote that depends on the level of rents, multiple equilibria (a high-rents low-turnout and a low-rents high-turnout) arise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-552
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Public Economic Theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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