Election Timing, Electorate Composition, and Policy Outcomes: Evidence from School Districts

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Authors Vladimir Kogan, St├ęphane Lavertu, Zachary Peskowitz
Paper Category
Paper Abstract There is considerable debate about how election timing shapes who votes, election outcomes, and, ultimately, public policy. We examine these matters by combining information on more than 10,000 school tax referenda with detailed micro-targeting data on voters participating in each election. The analysis confirms that timing influences voter composition in terms of partisanship, ideology, and the numerical strength of powerful interest groups. But, in contrast to prominent theories of election timing, these effects are modest in terms of their likely impact on election outcomes. Instead, timing has the most significant impact on voter age, with the elderly being the most over-represented group in low-turnout special elections. The electoral (and policy) implications of this effect vary between states, and we offer one explanation for this variation. Replication Materials: The data, code, and any additional materials required to replicate all analyses in this article are available on the American Journal of Political Science Dataverse within the Harvard Dataverse Network, at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7910/DVN/8R3LTP
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language R

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