Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation

Ron Shachar, Barry Nalebuff
1999 The American Economic Review  
Using state-by-state voting data for U.S. presidential elections, we observe that voter turnout is a positive function of predicted closeness. To explain the strategic component of political participation, we develop a follow-the-leader model. Political leaders expend effort according to their chance of being pivotal, which depends on the expected closeness of the race (at both state and national levels) and how voters respond to their effort. Structural estimation supports this model. For
more » ... le, a 1-percent increase in the predicted closeness at the state level stimulates leaders' efforts, which increases turnout by 0.34 percent. (JEL D72, C33, C72, H41)
doi:10.1257/aer.89.3.525 fatcat:lty3l4migvhknmxnplqsponm2a