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Effects of municipal mergers on voter turnout

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  • Simon Lapointe
  • Tuukka Saarimaa
  • Janne Tukiainen

Abstract

We study the effects of municipal mergers on voter turnout in a difference-in-differences framework, using data from a wave of municipal mergers in Finland in 2009. Analysing two pre-merger elections and three post-merger elections, spanning a total of 17 years, we find that municipal mergers decrease voter turnout by 4 percentage points in the long run in the relatively small municipalities compared to similar small municipalities that did not merge. As the average turnout rate prior to merging in this group was around 69%, this is a substantial effect. We also find that virtually nothing happens to turnout in the municipalities that were relatively large within their merger. Furthermore, mergers are associated with a decrease in voters’ political efficacy and turnout decreases more in those municipalities that experience larger decreases in efficacy.

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  • Simon Lapointe & Tuukka Saarimaa & Janne Tukiainen, 2018. "Effects of municipal mergers on voter turnout," Local Government Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(4), pages 512-530, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:flgsxx:v:44:y:2018:i:4:p:512-530
    DOI: 10.1080/03003930.2018.1465936
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    Cited by:

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    2. De Benedetto, Marco Alberto & De Paola, Maria, 2019. "Term limit extension and electoral participation. Evidence from a diff-in-discontinuities design at the local level in Italy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 196-211.
    3. Blesse, Sebastian & Heinemann, Friedrich, 2020. "Citizens’ trade-offs in state merger decisions: Evidence from a randomized survey experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 438-471.
    4. Mona Förtsch & Felix Rösel, 2020. "Gebietsreformen reduzieren das Heimatgefühl," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 27(01), pages 03-05, February.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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