What makes people vote? In addressing this simple question, Andre Blais examines the factors that increase or decrease turnout at the aggregate, cross-national level and considers what affects people's decision to vote or abstain. In doing so, Blais assesses the merits and limitations of the rational choice model in explaining voter behaviour. The past few decades have witnessed a rise in the popularity of the rational choice model in accounting for voter turnout, and more recently a groundswell of outspoken opposition to rational choice theory. Blais brings together the opposing theories and literatures, and offers tests of these different viewpoints. Using new data sets from many countries, Blais concludes that while rational choice is an important tool - even when it doesn't work - its empirical contribution to understanding why people vote is quite limited.
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Andr Blais is a professor in the department of political science and fellow with the Centre de recherche et dveloppement en conomique at the Universit de Montral. He has published twelve books and more than one hundred articles in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, and Public Choice. He was a member of the editorial board of the International Encyclopedia of Elections, and he is the principal co-investigator of the Canadian Election Study.Review:
Blais very carefully lays out the diffeark. -- Michael S. Lewis-Beck, University of Iowa
Bringing to bear a wealth of data from a broad range of countries... offers a smart and even-handed assessment... -- Donald Green, Yale University
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