Explaining voter turnout patterns: An information theory
- Cite this article as:
- Matsusaka, J.G. Public Choice (1995) 84: 91. doi:10.1007/BF01047803
Voting research is rich in empirical regularities yet a parsimonious theory of voter turnout that can match the facts has proven to be elusive. This paper argues that voter turnout patterns can be explained by extending the traditional rational voter model to include limited information. A model is presented in which utility-maximizing consumers receive higher payoffs from voting the more confident they are of their vote choice. The model provides an explanation for the most important cross-sectional voter turnout patterns. In addition, it suggests a novel explanation for the post-1960 decline in U.S. participation.