Electoral rules and voter turnout
The paper investigates the effect of electoral rules on voter turnout. It focuses on Italian municipalities, where voting schemes are differentiated by the size of the city: a single ballot system applies to municipalities with less than 15,000 inhabitants, while a dual ballot system is in place above that threshold. By exploiting this discontinuity, the paper finds that the dual ballot increases participation at the local polls, with an estimated effect of about 1 percentage point. The increase in voter turnout is associated with wider political representation, politicians of higher quality, greater fiscal discipline, and more robust local development. Finally, we document that the higher political participation triggered by local electoral rules extends to nationwide voting contexts.
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