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Political Interest, Cognitive Ability and Personality - Determinants of Voter Turnout in Britain

  • Kevin Denny

    (University College Dublin)

  • Patrick Orla Doyle

    (University College Dublin)

This paper uses longitudinal data from the National Cohort Development Study (NCDS) to investigate the determinants of voter turnout in the 1997 British General Election. It introduces measures of cognitive ability and personality into models of electoral participation and finds that firstly, their inclusion reduces the impact of education and secondly, that standard turnout models may be biased by the inclusion of the much used “interest in politics” measure. A bivariate probit model of turnout and interest then shows that individuals with high ability, an aggressive personality and a sense of civic duty are more likely to both turn out to vote and to have an interest in politics.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/economics/research/papers/2005/WP05.11.pdf
File Function: First version, 2005
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200511.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 08 Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200511
Contact details of provider: Postal: UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4
Phone: +353-1-7067777
Fax: +353-1-283 0068
Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics

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  1. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-24, June.
  2. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  3. Kevin Milligan & Enrico Moretti & Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Does Education Improve Citizenship? Evidence from the U.S. and the U.K," NBER Working Papers 9584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Valentino Larcinese, 2009. "Information Acquisition, Ideology and Turnout: Theory and Evidence From Britain," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 21(2), pages 237-276, April.
  5. Knack, Stephen & Kropf, Martha, 1998. "For shame! The effect of community cooperative context on the probability of voting," MPRA Paper 27258, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Kevin Denny, 2003. "The Effects of Human Capital on Social Capital - A Cross-Country Analysis," Working Papers 200318, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  7. Mueller, Gerrit & Plug, Erik, 2004. "Estimating the Effect of Personality on Male-Female Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 1254, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
  9. Charles Pattie & Ron Johnston, 2001. "A Low Turnout Landslide: Abstention at the British General Election of 1997," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 49(2), pages 286-305, 06.
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