Puzzling Evidence on Voter Turnout

Mats Johan Ekman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this empirical analysis of voting patterns in five countries on days when one or more national referenda were held, voter turnout appears to decline in the number of concurrent referenda, in contrast to standard theories’ predictions and regardless of method used to hold constant the quality of the referenda. Multiple concurrent referenda imply “quantity discounts” as one may vote on more ballots in one visit to the polling station. They should also draw more voters due to the wider range of interests attracted when more issues are up for vote. Yet, none of this seems to happen in the data. More recent developments, such as rule-utilitarian and information-based theories of voting, fare similarly poorly in light of the evidence presented in this article; a social theory of voting does better.
Translated title of the contributionPuzzling Evidence on Voter Turnout
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalRationality and Society
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)449-470
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 13.11.2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 511 Economics
  • Social incentives to vote
  • Referenda
  • Voter turnout


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