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On Compulsory Voting and Income Inequality in a Cross-Section of Countries

  • Alberto Chong

    ()

  • Mauricio Olivera

This paper explores the link between compulsory voting and income distribution using a cross-section of countries around the world. Our empirical cross-country analysis for 91 countries during the period 1960-2000 shows that compulsory voting, when enforced strictly, improves income distribution, as measured by the Gini coefficient and the bottom income quintiles of the population. Our findings are robust to changes and additions to our benchmark specification. Since poorer countries suffer from relatively greater income inequality, it might make sense to promote such voting schemes in developing regions such as Latin America. This proposal assumes that bureaucratic costs related with design and implementation are not excessive.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4413.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4413
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  1. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
  3. Francis O'Toole & Eric Strobl, 1994. "Compulsory Voting And Government Spending," Economics Technical Papers 944, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  4. Tilman Börgers, 2001. "Costly Voting," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 625018000000000232, www.najecon.org.
  5. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1998. "Why did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality and Growth in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 1797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  7. W. Mark Crain & Mary L. Leonard, 1993. "The Right Versus The Obligation To Vote: Effects On Cross-Country Government Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 43-51, 03.
  8. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  9. Alberto Chong, 2004. "Inequality, Democracy, and Persistence: Is There a Political Kuznets Curve?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 189-212, 07.
  10. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1997. "I just ran four million regressions," Economics Working Papers 201, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Chong, Alberto & Calderon, Cesar, 2000. "Institutional Quality and Income Distribution," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(4), pages 761-86, July.
  12. Bourguignon, Francois & Morrisson, Christian, 1998. "Inequality and development: the role of dualism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 233-257.
  13. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong Wha, 1996. "International Measures of Schooling Years and Schooling Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 218-23, May.
  14. Bourguignon, F. & Verdier, T., 1997. "Oligarchy, Democracy, Inequality and Growth," DELTA Working Papers 97-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  15. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
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