Abstention in daylight: Strategic calculus of voting in the european parliament

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As in large elections, substantialabstention is frequently observed inlegislative assemblies. This paper analyzesroll call votes from the third and fourthlegislatures (1989-1999) of the EuropeanParliament to test predictions from threetypes of theories of abstention: (1)decision-theoretic approach of RationalChoice theory, (2) game-theoretic approachof Rational Choice theory, and (3) theSwing Voter's Curse theory. The resultsindicate that closeness significantlydecreases the rate of abstention. Thefindings also show that an increase in theprobability of being in the majorityincreases turnout. Overall, findings aresupportive of the decision-theoreticapproach of Rational Choice theory butnot of the game-theoretic approach toabstention or the Swing Voter's Cursetheory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-211
Number of pages33
JournalPublic Choice
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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