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The causal effect of compulsory voting laws on turnout: Does skill matter?

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  • Jaitman, Laura

Abstract

A very important, yet unsettled, question is whether mandatory voting affects political participation. This paper exploits a natural experiment to assess the causal impact of compulsory voting on turnout and, more importantly, to test whether the impact is different across skill groups. I find that compulsory voting increases voter turnout by 18 percentage points (28%) and the increase is twice as much in the unskilled citizens than that in the skilled citizens. This study is the first to show, with rigorous empirical evidence, that compulsory voting laws are effective in reducing the skill/socioeconomic gap in political participation. Furthermore, by shaping the electorate, these laws have relevant consequences in terms of the economic policies applied.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:92:y:2013:i:c:p:79-93
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.05.008
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefanie Gäbler & Niklas Potrafke & Felix Rösel, 2017. "Compulsory Voting, Voter Turnout and Asymmetrical Habit-formation," CESifo Working Paper Series 6764, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Antonio Accetturo & Luciana Aimone & Enrico Beretta & Silvia Camussi & Luigi Cannari & Daniele Coin & Laura Conti & Roberto Cullino & Alessandro Fabbrini & Cristina Fabrizi & Giovanni Iuzzolino & Ales, 2015. "Deindustrialization and tertiarization: structural changes in North West Italy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 282, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. repec:eee:jeborg:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:224-245 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Niklas Potrafke & Felix Rösel, 2016. "Opening Hours of Polling Stations and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6036, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. 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.
    6. Accetturo, Antonio & Bugamelli, Matteo & Lamorgese, Andrea R., 2017. "Law enforcement and political participation: Italy, 1861–65," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 224-245.
    7. repec:eee:pubeco:v:168:y:2018:i:c:p:35-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:kap:pubcho:v:171:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-016-0399-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Rainald Borck, 2018. "Political Participation and the Welfare State," CESifo Working Paper Series 7128, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. 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.
    11. repec:ces:ifosdt:v:71:y:2018:i:05:p:23-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Garmann, Sebastian, 2017. "Election frequency, choice fatigue, and voter turnout," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 19-35.

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