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Political Institutions, Voter Turnout and Policy Outcomes

  • Eileen Fumagalli and Gaia Narciso

We question whether the impact of constitutions on economic outcomes (Persson and Tabellini, 2004) is direct. We show that voter turnout is a channel through which forms of government affect economic policies. We provide evidence of the existence of two relationships: the first links constitutions to voter turnout; the second connects voter turnout to policy outcomes. Presidential regimes are found to induce less voter participation in national elections. We then analyze the impact of constitutional variables and voter participation in shaping fiscal policies. Forms of governments lose their explanatory power once participation is accounted for. Higher participation induces an increase in government expenditure, total revenues and welfare state spending. We conclude that forms of government affect policy outcomes through electoral participation.

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Paper provided by IIIS in its series The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series with number iiisdp268.

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Date of creation: 14 Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp268
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904.
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  12. Amrita Dhillon & Susana Peralta, 2002. "Economic Theories Of Voter Turnout," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F332-F352, June.
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  18. Jessica Seddon Wallack & Alejandro Gaviria & Ugo Panizza & Ernesto Stein, 2003. "Particularism around the World," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 133-143, June.
  19. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Constitutions, Politics and Economics: A Review Essay on Persson and Tabellini's "The Economic Effect of Constitutions"," NBER Working Papers 11235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Alessro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . "The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives," Penn CARESS Working Papers b96440ba0bfa06ca550ac40aa, Penn Economics Department.
  21. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
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  24. Aidt, T.S. & Daunton, M. & Dutta, J., 2008. "The Retrenchment Hypothesis and the Extension of the Franchise in England and Wales," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0818, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  25. Hamlin, Alan & Jennings, Colin, 2011. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(03), pages 645-670, July.
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