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The inequality of electoral participation in Europe and America and the politically integrative functions of the welfare state


  • Alber, Jens
  • Kohler, Ulrich


Electoral turnout is shown to be higher and less socially skewed in member states of the enlarged European Union than in the United States. The differences in the levels of turnout can partly be related to differences in election procedures, but since the procedural rules provide similar incentives or disincentives to all social groups they cannot explain the much higher inequality of electoral participation in America. There is some evidence to sustain the notion that the higher inclusiveness of the West European welfare state fosters political integration and the equality of electoral participation. In line with this notion differences between Europe and America diminish considerably when the analysis is confined to the pensioner generation whose integration into welfare state schemes is largely similar on both sides of the Atlantic.

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  • Alber, Jens & Kohler, Ulrich, 2008. "The inequality of electoral participation in Europe and America and the politically integrative functions of the welfare state," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2008-202, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbisi:spi2008202

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:96:y:2002:i:03:p:565-574_00 is not listed on IDEAS
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    4. Klass, Gary M., 1985. "Explaining America and the Welfare State: An Alternative Theory," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(04), pages 427-450, October.
    5. Willem Adema & Maxime Ladaique, 2005. "Net Social Expenditure, 2005 Edition: More Comprehensive Measures of Social Support," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 29, OECD Publishing.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:69:y:1975:i:03:p:920-925_24 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Plutzer, Eric, 2010. "Do highly exclusive social welfare programs increase political inequality? A comparative analysis of the 50 US states," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2010-201, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

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