DP13898 How Effective Are Monetary Incentives to Vote? Evidence from a Nationwide Policy
|Author(s):||Mariella Gonzales, Gianmarco León-Ciliotta, Luis Martinez|
|Publication Date:||July 2019|
|Keyword(s):||compulsory voting, External Validity, Informational frictions, Peru, voter registration, Voter turnout|
|JEL(s):||D72, D78, D83, K42|
|Programme Areas:||Public Economics, Development Economics|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13898|
We combine two natural experiments, multiple empirical strategies and administrative data to study voters' response to marginal changes to the fine for electoral abstention in Peru. A smaller fine leads to a robust decrease in voter turnout. However, the drop in turnout caused by a full fine reduction is less than 20% the size of that caused by an exemption from compulsory voting, indicating the predominance of the non-monetary incentives provided by the mandate to vote. Additionally, almost 90% of the votes generated by a marginally larger fine are blank or invalid, lending support to the hypothesis of rational abstention. Higher demand for information and larger long-run effects following an adjustment to the value of the fine point to the existence of informational frictions that limit adaptation to institutional changes.