9780822957348

To Vote or Not to Vote?: The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice Theory

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780822957348

  • ISBN10:

    0822957345

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2000-08-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Pittsburgh Pr
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Summary

What makes people decide to vote? In addressing this simple question, Andreacute; Blais examines the factors that increase or decrease turnout at the aggregate, cross-national level and considers what affects peoplers"s decision to vote or to abstain. In doing so, Blais assesses the merits and limitations of the rational choice model in explaining voter behavior. The past few decades have witnessed a rise in the popularity of the rational choice model in accounting for voter turnout, and more recently a groundswell of outspoken opposition to rational choice theory. Blais tackles this controversial subject in an engaging and personal way, bringing together the opposing theories and literatures, and offering convincing tests of these different viewpoints. Most important, he handles the discussion in a clear and balanced manner. Using new data sets from many countries, Blais concludes that while rational choice is an important tool-even when it doesnrs"t work-its empirical contribution to understanding why people vote is quite limited. Whether one supports rational choice theory or opposes it, Blaisrs"s evenhanded and timely analysis will certainly be of interest, and is well-suited for advanced undergraduate and graduate-level classes.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments vii
Introduction. Is It Rational to Vote? 1(16)
When and Where Are People More Likely to Vote?
17(28)
Who Votes?
45(10)
Do People Believe That Their Vote Could Be Decisive?
55(28)
What Is the Cost of Voting?
83(9)
Is It a Duty to Vote?
92(23)
Do People Free Ride?
115(22)
Conclusion. Rational Choice and Voting 137(8)
Appendix A. Democratic Elections, 1972--95, and Participation Rate 145(4)
Appendix B. Variables, Indicators, and Sources 149(3)
Appendix C. 1993 Study of Electoral Participation among University Students: Research Design 152(1)
Appendix D. 1993 Study of Electoral Participation among University Students: Question Wording 153(6)
Appendix E. CSES Data, 1996--2000: Description of Variables 159(1)
Appendix F. 1995 Study by Thalheimer on the Importance of P in the Decision to Turn Out: Question Wording 160(2)
Appendix G. 1995 Quebec Referendum Study: Question Wording 162(4)
Appendix H. 1996 British Columbia Election Study: Question Wording 166(3)
Appendix I. 1996 Blais and Thalheimer Study on Reasons for Voting: Question Wording 169(4)
Notes 173(10)
References 183(12)
Index 195

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