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Electoral rules and voter turnout

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  • Guglielmo Barone

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

  • Guido de Blasio

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

The paper investigates the effect of electoral rules on voter turnout. It focuses on Italian municipalities, where voting schemes are differentiated by the size of the city: a single ballot system applies to municipalities with less than 15,000 inhabitants, while a dual ballot system is in place above that threshold. By exploiting this discontinuity, the paper finds that the dual ballot increases participation at the local polls, with an estimated effect of about 1 percentage point. The increase in voter turnout is associated with wider political representation, politicians of higher quality, greater fiscal discipline, and more robust local development. Finally, we document that the higher political participation triggered by local electoral rules extends to nationwide voting contexts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 833.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_833_11

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Keywords: voter turnout; electoral systems; regression discontinuity design;

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Cited by:
  1. Emanuele Bracco & Alberto Brugnoli, 2012. "Runoff vs. plurality," Working Papers 23767067, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  2. De Benedetto, Marco Alberto & De Paola, Maria, 2014. "Candidates' Quality and Electoral Participation: Evidence from Italian Municipal Elections," IZA Discussion Papers 8102, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Antonio Accetturo, 2014. "Political selection in the skilled city," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 956, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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