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Institutional Design aganist Electoral Participation: the case of Chile


  • Alejandro Corvalan

    (Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Universidad Diego Portales)


This paper argues that right-wing parties have incentives to use institutions in order to limit political participation. Their strategic reasons are twofold, namely to reinforce stability and to bias the results against left-wing parties. We describe an explicit case of institutional engineering against participation. During General Pinochet‟s regime, Chilean institutions were designed by right-wing forces under monopoly power with the specific purpose of creating a protected and exclusionary democracy. Two institutions played a key role. First, registration rules increased the cost of voting; second, the electoral system diluted its benefits. The design was a success in electoral terms: turnout decreased by 30% in two decades, the post-authoritarian electorate stabilized at less than 40%, and currently young Chileans exhibit the lowest turnout rate in the world.

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  • Alejandro Corvalan, 2011. "Institutional Design aganist Electoral Participation: the case of Chile," Working Papers 32, Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Universidad Diego Portales.
  • Handle: RePEc:ptl:wpaper:32

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