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Employment, Wages, and Voter Turnout

  • Kerwin Kofi Charles
  • Melvin Stephens Jr.

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.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 111-43

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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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