Voter Turnout and Preference Aggregation

Kei Kawai*, Yuta Toyama, Yasutora Watanabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study how voter turnout affects the aggregation of preferences in elections. Under voluntary voting, election outcomes disproportionately aggregate the preferences of voters with low voting cost and high preference intensity. We show identification of the correlation structure among preferences, costs, and perceptions of voting efficacy, and explore how the correlation affects preference aggregation. Using 2004 US presidential election data, we find that young, low-income, less-educated, and minority voters are underrepresented. All of these groups tend to prefer Democrats, except for the less educated. Democrats would have won the majority of the electoral votes if all eligible voters had turned out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-586
Number of pages39
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Microeconomics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Voter Turnout and Preference Aggregation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this