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The case for nil votes: Voter behavior under asymmetric information in compulsory and voluntary voting systems

Attila Ambrus, Ben Greiner () and Anne Sastro

Journal of Public Economics, 2017, vol. 154, issue C, 34-48

Abstract: In an informational voting environment, we study the impact of an explicit nil vote option on the ballot when some voters are uninformed and face the swing voters curse. We postulate a simple model of strategic voting in which voters entertain heterogeneous thresholds on legitimacy of different voting actions. We predict that introducing a nil vote option reduces the number of uninformed and invalid votes, increasing expected welfare in both voluntary and compulsory voting. We test our model in a pen-and-paper laboratory experiment, and find that the predictions of the model hold in the data, for both voting systems.

Keywords: Information aggregation in elections; Nil vote option; Voluntary and compulsory voting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D72 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:154:y:2017:i:c:p:34-48