IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/revint/v15y2020i1d10.1007_s11558-018-9305-8.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Opening hours of polling stations and voter turnout: Evidence from a natural experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Niklas Potrafke

    () (Ifo Institute, Ifo Center for Public Finance and Political Economy
    University of Munich)

  • Felix Roesel

    (Ifo Institute, Dresden Branch
    Technische Universität Dresden)

Abstract

Voter turnout has declined in many countries, raising the question of whether electoral institutions increase voter turnout. We exploit an electoral reform in the Austrian state of Burgenland as a natural experiment to identify the causal effect of polling station opening hours on voter turnout. The results show that a 10% increase in opening hours increased voter turnout by some 0.5 to 0.9 percentage points. The reform also influenced party vote shares. The vote share of the conservative party decreased in the course of the reform, while the vote shares of the other three main parties increased. Conservative voters tend to have an especially strict sense of civic duty and would have participated in the election in any event. Simulations indicate that parliamentary majorities in previous elections would have changed under extended opening hours in favor of the social democratic party. The opening hours of polling stations probably play a more important role in political strategies than recognized to date.

Suggested Citation

  • Niklas Potrafke & Felix Roesel, 2020. "Opening hours of polling stations and voter turnout: Evidence from a natural experiment," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 133-163, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:revint:v:15:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s11558-018-9305-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s11558-018-9305-8
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11558-018-9305-8
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
    2. Mark Schelker & Marco Schneiter, 2015. "The Elasticity of Voter Turnout: Investing 85 Cents per Voter to Increase Voter Turnout by 4 Percent," CESifo Working Paper Series 5617, CESifo.
    3. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    4. Marcel Thum & Alfons Weichenrieder, 1997. "Dinkies' and Housewives: The Regulation of Shopping Hours," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 539-559, November.
    5. Hillman, Arye L. & Metsuyanim, Kfir & Potrafke, Niklas, 2015. "Democracy with group identity," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 274-287.
    6. Roland Hodler & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2015. "The Effects of Voting Costs on the Democratic Process and Public Finances," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 141-171, February.
    7. Kai Gehring & Stephan A. Schneider, 2018. "Towards the Greater Good? EU Commissioners' Nationality and Budget Allocation in the European Union," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 214-239, February.
    8. 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.
    9. Tobias Wenzel, 2010. "Liberalization of Opening Hours with Free Entry," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 511-526, November.
    10. Gäbler, Stefanie & Potrafke, Niklas & Rösel, Felix, 2017. "Compulsory Voting, Voter Turnout and Asymmetrical Habit-formation," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168074, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Lind, Jo Thori, 2020. "Rainy day politics. An instrumental variables approach to the effect of parties on political outcomes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    12. Tobias Wenzel, 2010. "Liberalization of Opening Hours with Free Entry," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11(4), pages 511-526, November.
    13. Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2007. "To draft or not to draft? Inefficiency, generational incidence, and political economy of military conscription," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 975-987, December.
    14. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 22-37, October.
    15. Knack, Steve, 1994. "Does Rain Help the Republicans? Theory and Evidence on Turnout and the Vote," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(1-2), pages 187-209, April.
    16. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2004. "Women, War, and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Midcentury," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 497-551, June.
    17. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3221-3252, December.
    18. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    19. Brady, Henry E. & Mcnulty, John E., 2011. "Turning Out to Vote: The Costs of Finding and Getting to the Polling Place," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 115-134, February.
    20. Amy Finkelstein, 2007. "The Aggregate Effects of Health Insurance: Evidence from the Introduction of Medicare," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 1-37.
    21. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," Working Papers 680, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    22. Patricia Funk, 2010. "Social Incentives and Voter Turnout: Evidence from the Swiss Mail Ballot System," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1077-1103, September.
    23. John B. Holbein & D. Sunshine Hillygus, 2016. "Making Young Voters: The Impact of Preregistration on Youth Turnout," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 60(2), pages 364-382, April.
    24. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    25. Sebastian Garmann, 2017. "The effect of a reduction in the opening hours of polling stations on turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 171(1), pages 99-117, April.
    26. Wenzel Tobias, 2010. "Liberalization of Opening Hours with Free Entry," German Economic Review, De Gruyter, vol. 11(4), pages 511-526, December.
    27. 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.
    28. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-632, Nov.-Dec..
    29. Thomas Fujiwara, 2015. "Voting Technology, Political Responsiveness, and Infant Health: Evidence From Brazil," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 423-464, March.
    30. Fernanda Leite Lopez de Leon & Renata Rizzi, 2014. "A Test for the Rational Ignorance Hypothesis: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Brazil," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 380-398, November.
    31. repec:fth:prinin:300 is not listed on IDEAS
    32. John Gibson & Bonggeun Kim & Steven Stillman & Geua Boe-Gibson, 2013. "Time to vote?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 517-536, September.
    33. Barry C. Burden & David T. Canon & Kenneth R. Mayer & Donald P. Moynihan, 2014. "Election Laws, Mobilization, and Turnout: The Unanticipated Consequences of Election Reform," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 58(1), pages 95-109, January.
    34. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
    35. Gerhard CLEMENZ, 1990. "Competition Via Shopping Hours: A Case For Regulation?," Vienna Economics Papers vie9005, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    36. Michael M. Bechtel & Dominik Hangartner & Lukas Schmid, 2016. "Does Compulsory Voting Increase Support for Leftist Policy?," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 60(3), pages 752-767, July.
    37. Hansford, Thomas G. & Gomez, Brad T., 2010. "Estimating the Electoral Effects of Voter Turnout," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 268-288, May.
    38. Raymond Gradus, 1996. "The economic effects of extending shop opening hours," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 64(3), pages 247-263, October.
    39. Thum, Marcel & Weichenrieder, Alfons, 1997. "'Dinkies' and Housewives: The Regulation of Shopping Hours," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 539-559.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Sebastian Garmann, 0. "Voter turnout and public sector employment policy," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-24.
    2. Carolin Fritzsche & Lars Vandrei, 2018. "Causes of Vacancies in the Housing Market – A Literature Review," ifo Working Paper Series 258, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. Niklas Potrafke & Felix Roesel, 2019. "A banana republic? The effects of inconsistencies in the counting of votes on voting behavior," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 178(1), pages 231-265, January.
    4. Marco Frank & David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2020. "Electoral Turnout During States of Emergency and Effects on Incumbent Vote Share," CREMA Working Paper Series 2020-10, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. Andrea Bonoldi & Chiara Dalle Nogare & Martin Mosler & Niklas Potrafke, 2020. "Do inheritance rules affect voter turnout? Evidence from an Alpine region," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 395-445, December.
    6. Davis, Lewis S., 2018. "Political economy of growth with a taste for status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 35-46.
    7. Gaebler, Stefanie & Potrafke, Niklas & Roesel, Felix, 2020. "Compulsory voting and political participation: Empirical evidence from Austria," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    8. Sebastian Garmann, 2020. "Voter turnout and public sector employment policy," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 845-868, October.
    9. Niklas Potrafke & Felix Rösel, 2018. "Welche Folgen haben längere Öffnungszeiten von Wahllokalen?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 71(05), pages 23-26, March.
    10. Sebastian Garmann, 2020. "Political efficacy and the persistence of turnout shocks," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 411-429, November.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Marco Frank & David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2020. "Electoral Turnout During States of Emergency and Effects on Incumbent Vote Share," CREMA Working Paper Series 2020-10, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. Niklas Potrafke & Felix Rösel, 2018. "Welche Folgen haben längere Öffnungszeiten von Wahllokalen?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 71(05), pages 23-26, March.
    3. León, Gianmarco, 2017. "Turnout, political preferences and information: Experimental evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 56-71.
    4. 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.
    5. Andrea Bonoldi & Chiara Dalle Nogare & Martin Mosler & Niklas Potrafke, 2020. "Do inheritance rules affect voter turnout? Evidence from an Alpine region," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 395-445, December.
    6. Christine Fauvelle-Aymar & Abel François, 2018. "Place of registration and place of residence: the non-linear detrimental impact of transportation cost on electoral participation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 176(3), pages 405-440, September.
    7. Rainald Borck, 2018. "Political Participation and the Welfare State," CESifo Working Paper Series 7128, CESifo.
    8. Paul Hufe & Andreas Peichl, 2020. "Beyond Equal Rights: Equality of Opportunity in Political Participation," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 66(3), pages 477-511, September.
    9. Gäbler, Stefanie & Potrafke, Niklas & Rösel, Felix, 2017. "Compulsory Voting, Voter Turnout and Asymmetrical Habit-formation," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168074, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Sebastian Garmann, 2020. "Political efficacy and the persistence of turnout shocks," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 411-429, November.
    11. Fernanda Leite Lopez Leon & Renata Rizzi, 2016. "Does forced voting result in political polarization?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 143-160, January.
    12. Godefroy, Raphael & Henry, Emeric, 2016. "Voter turnout and fiscal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 389-406.
    13. Mechtenberg, Lydia & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2019. "Voter motivation and the quality of democratic choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 241-259.
    14. Gonzales Mariella & Gianmarco León-Ciliotta & Luis R. Martinez, 2018. "How effective are monetary incentives to vote? Evidence from a nationwide policy," Economics Working Papers 1667, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2019.
    15. 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.
    16. Lewis, Joshua & Severnini, Edson, 2020. "Short- and long-run impacts of rural electrification: Evidence from the historical rollout of the U.S. power grid," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    17. Gaebler, Stefanie & Potrafke, Niklas & Roesel, Felix, 2020. "Compulsory voting and political participation: Empirical evidence from Austria," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    18. Sebastian Garmann, 2020. "Voter turnout and public sector employment policy," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 845-868, October.
    19. Garmann, Sebastian, 2017. "Election frequency, choice fatigue, and voter turnout," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 19-35.
    20. Sebastian Garmann, 0. "Voter turnout and public sector employment policy," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-24.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    D72; D02; Z18;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:revint:v:15:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s11558-018-9305-8. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.