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Voter Turnout and Fiscal Policy

Abstract : Though a large literature on the determinants of turnout has ourished, there is scant evidence on the causal impact of turnout on policies implemented in practice. Using data on French municipalities and instrumental variables for turnout based on temperature and inuenza variations, we show that a one percent increase in turnout decreases on average the municipalities' yearly budget by 1.5 percent. This is mostly due to a decrease in spending on equipment or personnel. We show that this could be the result of a negative effect of turnout on the strength of the incumbent's majority combined with the fact that the incumbent promises higher budgets. We argue, in the context of a theoretical model, that these different facts could be natural consequences of the well documented incumbency advantage.
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Raphaël Godefroy, Emeric Henry. Voter Turnout and Fiscal Policy. 2011. ⟨hal-00973093⟩

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