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Does Compulsory Voting Help Equalize Incomes?

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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 when compulsory voting can be strongly enforced the distribution of income improves 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. Because poorer countries are the ones with relatively more unequal distribution of income it might make sense to promote such voting schemes in developing regions, such as Latin America. This, under the assumption that bureaucratic costs related with design and implementation are not excessive. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Chong & Mauricio Olivera, 2008. "Does Compulsory Voting Help Equalize Incomes?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 391-415, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:20:y:2008:i:3:p:391-415
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    Cited by:

    1. Hoffman, Mitchell & León, Gianmarco & Lombardi, María, 2017. "Compulsory voting, turnout, and government spending: Evidence from Austria," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 103-115.
    2. Selim Jürgen Ergun, 2015. "Centrist’S Curse? An Electoral Competition Model With Credibility Constraints," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 60(05), pages 1-18, December.
    3. Milanovic, Branko, 2010. "Four critiques of the redistribution hypothesis: An assessment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 147-154, March.
    4. Marcus André Melo & Armando Barrientos & André Canuto Coelho, 2014. "Taxation, redistribution and the social contract in Brazil," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series iriba_wp11, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    5. Schäfer, Armin, 2011. "Republican liberty and compulsory voting," MPIfG Discussion Paper 11/17, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    6. Dalibor Eterovic, 2009. "Policy Reform Under Electoral Uncertainty," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 546, Central Bank of Chile.
    7. Jaitman, Laura, 2013. "The causal effect of compulsory voting laws on turnout: Does skill matter?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 79-93.
    8. Dalibor Eterovic & Nicolás Eterovic, 2012. "Political competition versus electoral participation: effects on government’s size," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 333-363, December.
    9. Rauh, Christopher, 2017. "Voting, education, and the Great Gatsby Curve," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 1-14.
    10. Christopher Rauh, 2015. "The Political Economy of Early and College Education - Can Voting Bend the Great Gatsby Curve?," 2015 Meeting Papers 82, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Dalibor Eterovic & Nicolas Eterovic, 2010. "Political Competition vs. PoliticalParticipation: Effects on Government's Size," Working Papers wp_006, Adolfo Ibáñez University, School of Government.
    12. Juan José Matta, 2009. "El Efecto del Voto Obligatorio Sobre las Políticas Redistributivas: Teoría y Evidencia para un Corte Transversal de Países," Working Papers ClioLab 3, EH Clio Lab. Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

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