The more, the better? : Counterfactual evidence on the effect of compulsory voting on the consistency of party choice

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2009
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Lachat, Romain
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European Journal of Political Research. 2009, 48(5), pp. 573-597. Available under: doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6765.2009.01834.x
Zusammenfassung

Compulsory voting (CV) undoubtedly raises electoral turnout. Yet does it also affect individual party choices and aggregate election outcomes? Previous studies have focused on partisan or 'directional' effects of CV in favour of, for example, social-democratic or anti-establishment parties. These effects are usually small, however. Using survey data from the Belgian General Elections Study, this article finds that CV primarily affects the consistency, rather than the direction, of party choices. In particular, the analyses suggest that CV compels a substantial share of uninterested and less knowledgeable voters to the polls. These voters, in turn, cast votes that are clearly less consistent with their own political preferences than those of the more informed and motivated voluntary voters. Claims that CV promotes equal representation of political interests are therefore questionable.

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ISO 690SELB, Peter, Romain LACHAT, 2009. The more, the better? : Counterfactual evidence on the effect of compulsory voting on the consistency of party choice. In: European Journal of Political Research. 2009, 48(5), pp. 573-597. Available under: doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6765.2009.01834.x
BibTex
@article{Selb2009bette-4169,
  year={2009},
  doi={10.1111/j.1475-6765.2009.01834.x},
  title={The more, the better? : Counterfactual evidence on the effect of compulsory voting on the consistency of party choice},
  number={5},
  volume={48},
  journal={European Journal of Political Research},
  pages={573--597},
  author={Selb, Peter and Lachat, Romain}
}
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