Compulsory Voting And Public Finance
Source: Study Center Gerzensee
Conventional wisdom suggests that compulsory voting lowers the influence of special-interest groups and leads to policies that are better for less privileged citizens, who often abstain when voting is voluntary. To scrutinize this conventional wisdom, the author studies public goods provision and rents to special-interest groups in a probabilistic voting model with campaign contributions in which citizens can decide how much political information to acquire, and whether to vote or abstain. The author finds that compulsory voting, modeled as an increase in abstention costs, raises the share of poorly informed and impressionable voters, thereby making special-interest groups more influential and increasing their rents.