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Youth Enfranchisement, Political Responsiveness, and Education Expenditure: Evidence from the U.S


  • Graziella Bertocchi


  • Arcangelo Dimico


  • Francesco Lancia


  • Alessia Russo



This paper studies the effect of preregistration laws on government spending in the U.S. Preregistration allows young citizens to register before being eligible to vote and has been introduced in different states in different years. Employing a difference-in-differences regression design, we first establish that preregistration shifts state-level government spending toward expenditure on higher education. The magnitude of the increase is larger when political competition is weaker and inequality is higher. Second, we document a positive effect of preregistration on state-provided student aid and its number of recipients by comparing higher education institutions within border-county pairs. Lastly, using individual-level data on voting records, we show that preregistration promotes a de facto youth enfranchisement episode. Consistent with a political economy model of distributive politics,the results collectively suggest strong political responsiveness to the needs of the newly-enfranchised constituent group.

Suggested Citation

  • Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico & Francesco Lancia & Alessia Russo, 2017. "Youth Enfranchisement, Political Responsiveness, and Education Expenditure: Evidence from the U.S," Department of Economics 0118, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  • Handle: RePEc:mod:depeco:0118

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    Cited by:

    1. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico & Francesco Lancia & Alessia Russo, 2020. "Youth Enfranchisement, Political Responsiveness, and Education Expenditure: Evidence from the US," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 76-106, August.
    2. Anna Maria Koukal & Patricia Schafer & Reiner Eichenberger, 2020. "The Trade-off between Deepening and Broadening of Democracy Lessons from Youth Enfranchisement," CREMA Working Paper Series 2020-16, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    3. Ole Henning Nyhus & Bjarne Strøm, 2019. "School spending and extension of the youth voting franchise: Evidence from an experiment in Norway," Working Paper Series 17719, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    4. Funk, Patricia & Litschig, Stephan, 2020. "Policy choices in assembly versus representative democracy: Evidence from Swiss communes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 182(C).
    5. Michael Klien & Mickael Melki & Andrew Pickering, 2018. "Voter Turnout and Intergenerational Redistribution," Discussion Papers 18/10, Department of Economics, University of York.
    6. Anna Maria Koukal & Marco Portmann, 2020. "Political Integration of Foreigners How does foreigners suffrage impact natives’ attitudes?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2020-05, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).

    More about this item


    Education Expenditure; Political Responsiveness; Preregistration; Voter Turnout; Youth Enfranchisement;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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