It has often been argued that voter turnout in the United States is too low, particularly compared with turnout in other industrialized democracies, and that a healthy democracy should have higher turnout. Yet, an economist might argue, that it is surprising turnout is as high as it is, given the likelihood that any individual's vote will change the election outcome is vanishingly small in elections of reasonable size. Professor Henry Farber presents a short tour of economist's view of what economics has to say about voter turnout, and discusses alternative views of the determinants of turnout and the value of high voter turnout. Farber also discusses policies, used both in the U.S. and abroad, to increase voter turnout. These include mandatory voting with fines for not voting and a "Democracy Day" which provides an Election Day holiday in order to encourage voting.


Farber, Henry S.

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