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On Compulsory Voting and Income Inequality in a Cross-Section of Countries

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  • Alberto Chong

    ()

  • Mauricio Olivera

Abstract

This paper explores the link between compulsory voting and income distribution using a cross-section of countries around the world. Our empirical cross-country analysis for 91 countries during the period 1960-2000 shows that compulsory voting, when enforced strictly, improves income distribution, as measured by the Gini coefficient and the bottom income quintiles of the population. Our findings are robust to changes and additions to our benchmark specification. Since poorer countries suffer from relatively greater income inequality, it might make sense to promote such voting schemes in developing regions such as Latin America. This proposal assumes that bureaucratic costs related with design and implementation are not excessive.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4413.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4413

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  1. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
  2. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  3. Alberto Chong, 2001. "Inequality, Democracy, and Persistence: Is There a Political Kuznets Curve?," Research Department Publications 4253, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  4. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
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  7. W. Mark Crain & Mary L. Leonard, 1993. "The Right Versus The Obligation To Vote: Effects On Cross-Country Government Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 43-51, 03.
  8. Bourguignon, F. & Verdier, T., 1997. "Oligarchy, Democracy, Inequality and Growth," DELTA Working Papers 97-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  9. Francis O'Toole & Eric Strobl, 1994. "Compulsory Voting And Government Spending," Economics Technical Papers 944, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  10. Tilman Borgers, 2004. "Costly Voting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 57-66, March.
  11. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  12. Bourguignon, F. & Morrisson, C., 1995. "Inequality and Development: The Role of Dualism," DELTA Working Papers 95-32, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  13. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997. "I Just Ran Two Million Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 178-83, May.
  14. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong Wha, 1996. "International Measures of Schooling Years and Schooling Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 218-23, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Ryo Arawatari, 2007. "Informatization, Voter Turnout and Income Inequality," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 07-28, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).

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