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Electoral rules and voter turnout

Author

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  • Guglielmo Barone

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Guido de Blasio

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Guglielmo Barone & Guido de Blasio, 2011. "Electoral rules and voter turnout," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 833, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_833_11
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    Cited by:

    1. Britto, Diogo G.C. & Fiorin, Stefano, 2020. "Corruption and legislature size: Evidence from Brazil," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    2. Alberto Batinti & Andrea Filippetti & Luca Andriani, 2017. "Why Does Social Capital Increase Government Performance? The Role of Local Elections across Italian Municipalities," Management Working Papers 13, Birkbeck Department of Management, revised Apr 2017.
    3. De Benedetto, Marco Alberto, 2018. "Quality of Politicians and Electoral System. Evidence from a Quasi-experimental Design for Italian Cities," MPRA Paper 89511, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Giovanna d'Adda & Guido Blasio, 2017. "Historical Legacy And Policy Effectiveness: The Long-Term Influence Of Preunification Borders In Italy," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 319-341, March.
    5. Chiades, Paolo & Greco, Luciano & Mengotto, Vanni & Moretti, Luigi & Valbonesi, Paola, 2019. "Fiscal consolidation by intergovernmental transfers cuts? The unpleasant effect on expenditure arrears," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 266-275.
    6. Andrew C. Eggers & Ronny Freier & Veronica Grembi & Tommaso Nannicini, 2018. "Regression Discontinuity Designs Based on Population Thresholds: Pitfalls and Solutions," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 62(1), pages 210-229, January.
    7. Picchio, Matteo & Santolini, Raffaella, 2021. "The COVID-19 Pandemic's Effects on Voter Turnout," IZA Discussion Papers 14241, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Belloc, Marianna, 2018. "Voting behavior and the terrestrial digital divide," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 14-17.
    9. Emanuele Bracco & Alberto Brugnoli, 2012. "Runoff vs. plurality," Working Papers 23767067, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    10. Alberto Batinti & Luca Andriani & Andrea Filippetti, 2019. "Local Government Fiscal Policy, Social Capital and Electoral Payoff: Evidence across Italian Municipalities," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(4), pages 503-526, November.
    11. Cipullo, Davide, 2018. "Runoff vs. Plurality: Does It Matter for Expenditures? Evidence from Italy," Working Paper Series 2018:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    12. Marco Alberto De Benedetto, 2018. "Quality of Politicians and Electoral System. Evidence from a Quasi-experimental Design for Italian Cities," BCAM Working Papers 1802, Birkbeck Centre for Applied Macroeconomics.
    13. 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.
    14. De Benedetto, Marco Alberto & De Paola, Maria, 2014. "Candidates' Quality and Electoral Participation: Evidence from Italian Municipal Elections," IZA Discussion Papers 8102, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Paolo Chiades & Luciano Greco & Vanni Menegotto & Luigi Moretti & Paola Valbonesi, 2015. "Fiscal Consolidation and Expenditure Arrears: Evidence from Local Governments’ Investments," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0197, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    16. Anna Harvey, 2020. "Applying regression discontinuity designs to American political development," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 185(3), pages 377-399, December.
    17. Marco Alberto De Benedetto & Maria De Paola, 2017. "Candidates’ Education and Turnout: Evidence from Italian Municipal Elections," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 18(1), pages 22-50, February.
    18. Tommaso Giommoni, 2017. "Exposition to Corruption and Political Participation: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," CESifo Working Paper Series 6645, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    voter turnout; electoral systems; regression discontinuity design;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects

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