Turnout and the calculus of voting

Recent advances and prospects for integration with theories of campaigns and elections

Authored by: John H. Aldrich , Libby M. Jenke

The Routledge Handbook of Elections, Voting Behaviorand Public Opinion

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138890404
eBook ISBN: 9781315712390
Adobe ISBN:


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The “calculus of voting” is the rational-choice based theory of turnout and vote choice that has been at the base of the choice-theoretic studies of campaigns and elections since its first formal statement by Downs (1957) and especially by Riker and Ordeshook (1968). Perhaps because of its initial formal results about turnout that are ordinarily understood to be both pessimistic and empirically wrong, a number of years passed with relatively little theoretical advancement, while theories of voting, political parties, and campaigns and elections developed, often with little to no attention to the voters’ calculus.

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