(Don't) Make My Vote Count

Marco Faravelli , Santiago Sanchez-Pages

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Proponents of proportional electoral rules often argue that majority rule depresses turnout and may lower welfare due to the ‘‘tyranny of the majority’’ problem. The present paper studies the impact of electoral rules on turnout and social welfare. We analyze a model of instrumental voting where citizens have private information over their individual cost of voting and over the alternative they prefer. The electoral rule used to select the winning alternative is a combination of majority rule and proportional rule. Results show that the above arguments against majority rule do not hold in this set up. Social welfare and turnout increase with the weight that the electoral rule gives to majority rule in a close election, while they are independent of the electoral rule when the expected size of the minority tends to zero. However, more proportional rules can increase turnout within the minority group; this effect is stronger the smaller the minority group. We provide a general version of the competition effect, i.e. that turnout in close elections is higher than in biased elections, independently of the systems adopted in the two cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-569
JournalJournal of Theoretical Politics
Issue number4
Early online date11 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • costly voting
  • majority rule
  • proportional rule
  • turnout


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