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The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Effects on Voter Turnout

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  • Picchio, Matteo
  • Santolini, Raffaella

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of participating in public events, among them elections. We assess whether the voter turnout in the 2020 local government elections in Italy was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We do so by exploiting the variation among municipalities in the intensity of the COVID-19 outbreak as measured by the mortality rate among the elderly. We find that a 1 percentage point increase in the elderly mortality rate decreased the voter turnout by 0.5 percentage points, with no gender differences in the behavioural response. The effect was especially strong in densely populated municipalities. We do not detect statistically significant heterogeneous effects between the North and the South or among different levels of autonomy from the central government.

Suggested Citation

  • Picchio, Matteo & Santolini, Raffaella, 2021. "The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Effects on Voter Turnout," GLO Discussion Paper Series 812, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:812
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    Cited by:

    1. Mello, Marco & Moscelli, Giuseppe, 2022. "Voting, contagion and the trade-off between public health and political rights: Quasi-experimental evidence from the Italian 2020 polls," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 200(C), pages 1025-1052.
    2. Farzanegan, Mohammad Reza & Gholipour, Hassan F., 2023. "COVID-19 fatalities and internal conflict: Does government economic support matter?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    3. José Santana-Pereira & Hugo Ferrinho Lopes & Susana Rogeiro Nina, 2023. "Sailing Uncharted Waters with Old Boats? COVID-19 and the Digitalization and Professionalization of Presidential Campaigns in Portugal," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 12(1), pages 1-21, January.
    4. Massimo Bordignon & Federico Franzoni & Matteo Gamalerio, 2023. "Is Populism reversible? Evidence from Italian local elections during the pandemic," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def124, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    5. Andreea Stancea & Aurelian Muntean, 2024. "Keep the (social) distance! Turnout and risk perception during health crisis," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 11(1), pages 1-12, December.
    6. Fuest, Clemens & Immel, Lea & Neumeier, Florian & Peichl, Andreas, 2023. "Does expert information affect citizens’ attitudes toward Corona policies? Evidence from Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    7. Boldrini, Michela & Conzo, Pierluigi & Fiore, Simona & Zotti, Roberto, 2023. "Blaming migrants doesn’t pay: the political effects of the Ebola epidemic in Italy," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 202320, University of Turin.
    8. Alena Bicakova & Stepan Jurajda, 2024. "COVID-19 and Political Preferences Through Stages of the Pandemic: The Case of the Czech Republic," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp778, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19 outbreak; pandemic; voter turnout; mortality rate; Italian municipalities;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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