Voting vs. Non-Voting and its Impact on Developing Countries : Empirical Application of Latent Class Models and Nested Multinomial Logit Models

The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of non-voters in elections in Africa and Latin America. We were looking to assess the factors that influence voting behavior and the decision to abstain. Further, we measured the impact of the voting motives on government performance and their influence on the policy making process. To carry out the analysis, we used voter survey data. The main contribution of this work was the inclusion of Abstention. Another innovative aspect was the design and implementation of a political experiment. It consisted in the delivery of information about the performance of the incumbent, to see changes in voter behavior. To this end, we estimated latent class and nested multinomial logit models. We concluded that a factor considered by voters to either vote or abstain, is their level of satisfaction with the president. Also, less informed people seem to be less motivated to vote. In addition, the non-policy component is always the most relevant, implying that governments are not accountable towards voters. However, some minority groups choose more policy oriented, which means that they could have more influence in the policy making process.  Further, we observed that those who do not support the incumbent hold it more accountable. Thus, if governments fail to achieve their goals, these voters are more likely to abstain or choose an opposition party. Moreover, abstainers and non-government voters have a higher political weight. This implies, that they could put pressure on the governments to choose and implement better policies. We also demonstrated that, voter behavior can be influenced by means of information signals. Although the impact on party choice was not very strong, the relative importance of the voting components changed significantly. Finally, the opposition parties are perceived to be closer to the optimal policy positions, which gives an incentive to the ruling parties to change their policy positions.


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