Freakonomics in the Times Magazine: Why Vote?

In the Novermber 6, 2005, Freakonomics column in the New York Times Magazine, Dubner and Levitt take an age-old problem – complaints about low voter turnout in U.S. elections – and stand it on its head. That is, instead of wondering why so few people bother to vote, they ask why so many people vote. The answer may surprise you. Click here to read the article. This blog post supplies additional research material.

Theory and Evidence on the Role of Social Norms in Voting,” by Patricia Funk (uses the introduction of mail ballots in Switzerland to measure the incentives of voting).

The Empirical Frequency of a Pivotal Vote,” by Casey B. Mulligan and Charles G. Hunter (measures more than 56,000 elections in the U.S. to determine how many “close” elections there really are, and how their outcomes are decided).

Detecting Manipulation in U.S. House Elections,” by Jason Snyder (shows how the greatest benefit of incumbency may be the ability to remain an incumbent).