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Does voter turnout affect the votes for the incumbent government?

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  • Martins, Rodrigo
  • Veiga, Francisco José

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of voter turnout on the vote shares received by the incumbent government. A system of simultaneous equations is estimated using a panel dataset of 278 Portuguese municipalities, for the period 1979–2005, covering 10 legislative elections. The results indicate that right-wing governments have lower vote shares when turnout is higher, while left-wing ones seem to be unaffected. There is also evidence of the responsibility hypothesis, that turnout is higher in closer elections, and that regional/local economic variables have non-linear effects on turnout implying that it is higher in good and bad times, but lower when the economy is neither too hot nor too cold.

Suggested Citation

  • Martins, Rodrigo & Veiga, Francisco José, 2014. "Does voter turnout affect the votes for the incumbent government?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 274-286.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:36:y:2014:i:c:p:274-286
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2014.09.001
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Vote shares; Turnout; Legislative elections; Portugal;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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