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Employment, Wages, and Voter Turnout

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  • Kerwin Kofi Charles
  • Melvin Stephens Jr.

Abstract

Using county-level data across several decades, and various OLS and TSLS models, we find that higher local wages and employment lower turnout in elections for governor, senator, US Congress and state House of Representatives, but have no effect on presidential turnout. We also find that the share of people voting in one election but not in another on the same ballot increases as local labor market conditions improve. We argue that these results are most consistent with information-based models of voting, and use individual level panel data to show that increased employment lowers media usage and political knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens Jr., 2013. "Employment, Wages, and Voter Turnout," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 111-143, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:4:p:111-43 Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.4.111
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Campante, Filipe R. & Chor, Davin, 2014. "“The people want the fall of the regime”: Schooling, political protest, and the economy," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 495-517.
    2. Garmann, Sebastian, 2016. "Concurrent elections and turnout: Causal estimates from a German quasi-experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 167-178.
    3. repec:kap:pubcho:v:171:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-016-0399-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Arnaud Chevalier & Orla Doyle, 2012. "SCHOOLING AND VOTER TURNOUT: Is there an American Exception?," Working Papers 201210, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    5. Andersen, Jørgen Juel & Fiva, Jon H. & Natvik, Gisle James, 2014. "Voting when the stakes are high," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 157-166.
    6. Christian Dippel & Robert Gold & Stephan Heblich, 2015. "Globalization and Its (Dis-)Content: Trade Shocks and Voting Behavior," NBER Working Papers 21812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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