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External Validation of Voter Turnout Models by Concealed Parameter Recovery

Merlo, Antonio and Palfrey, Thomas R. (2013) External Validation of Voter Turnout Models by Concealed Parameter Recovery. Social Science Working Paper, 1370. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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We conduct a model validation analysis of several behavioral models of voter turnout, using laboratory data. We call our method of model validation concealed parameter recovery, where estimation of a model is done under a veil of ignorance about some of the experimentally controlled parameters — in this case voting costs. We use quantal response equilibrium as the underlying, common structure for estimation, and estimate models of instrumental voting, altruistic voting, expressive voting, and ethical voting. All the models except the ethical model recover the concealed parameters reasonably well. We also report the results of a counterfactual analysis based on the recovered parameters, to compare the policy implications of the different models about the cost of a subsidy to increase turnout.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemPublished Version
Merlo, Antonio0000-0002-4047-5604
Palfrey, Thomas R.0000-0003-0769-8109
Additional Information:February 2013. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the National Science Foundation (SES-0079301, SES-0450712, SES-0094800) and the California Social Science Experimental Laboratory. We thank seminar and conference participants at several institutions for their useful comments and suggestions. Anna Bassi and Claire Lim provided excellent research assistance.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
California Social Science Experimental Laboratory (CASSEL)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Turnout, voting, model validation, parameter recovery, laboratory experiments
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1370
Classification Code:JEL classification numbers: D72, C52, C92
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160301-134313074
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:64918
Deposited On:04 Mar 2016 22:38
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 09:42

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