Working Paper Series
Voter Turnout in Direct Democracy: Theory and Evidence
() and Thomas P. Tangerås
Abstract: We analyse voter turnout as a function of referendum
types. An advisory referendum produces advice that a legislature may or may
not take into account when choosing between two alternatives, whereas a
binding referendum generates a decisive decision. In theory, voter turnout
should be higher under binding than advisory referendums, higher in small
than large electorates and higher in close than less close referendums.
These predictions are corroborated by evidence from 230 local referendums
in Norway. For example, a shift from an advisory to a semi-binding
referendum leads to an average increase in voter turnout by 11.5 percentage
Keywords: Voting Behaviour; Referendum Types; Rational Choice; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D72; (follow links to similar papers)
23 pages, June 18, 2003
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