14th journées Louis-André Gérard-Varet

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Does High Voter Turnout Discipline Elected Officials? Theory and Evidence
Dong-Hee Joe

Last modified: 2015-03-15


Knowing how to discipline elected officials is important for the functioning of representative democracy. We study the role of voter turnout in that context. We first build a simple model to highlight a channel through which voter turnout may play a role. The key assumptions are (i) informed voters have a higher tendency to vote than the uninformed; and (ii) the incumbent does not know the fraction of informed voters in her constituency. Turnout in the last election serves as a noisy signal of this last fraction. This way, high turnout in the last election induces a high effort from the incumbent. We test this prediction using data from the 18th National Assembly of South Korea. Our preliminary results of IV estimation supports the prediction.


Voter Turnout; Discipline on Elected Officials