Public Choice

, Volume 84, Issue 1–2, pp 91–117 | Cite as

Explaining voter turnout patterns: An information theory

  • John G. Matsusaka


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.


Information Theory Public Finance High Payoff Voter Turnout Voter Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • John G. Matsusaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Finance and Business Economics, School of Business AdministrationUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles

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