Public Choice

, Volume 116, Issue 1–2, pp 31–54 | Cite as

The Empirical Frequency of a Pivotal Vote

  • Casey B. Mulligan
  • Charles G. Hunter


Some economic theories of voting suggestthat competition leads to close elections,and that election closeness is a factor forbringing voters to the polls. How often infact are civic elections decided by onevote? One of every 89,000 votes cast inU.S. Congressional elections, and one of15,000 in state legislator elections, ``mattered'' in thesense that they were castfor a candidate that tied or won by onevote. We find an inverse relationshipbetween election size and the frequency ofone vote margins. Recounts, and othermargin-specific election procedures, aredeterminants of the pivotal vote frequency.


Economic Theory Public Finance State Legislator Election Procedure Congressional Election 
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 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Casey B. Mulligan
    • 1
  • Charles G. Hunter
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Chicago and LexeconUSA

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