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Economic Inequality and Electoral Participation: A Cross-Country Evaluation

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Abstract

Empirical research has shown that electoral engagement is positively correlated with income at the individual level. At the same time, the aggregate relationship between income inequality and electoral turnout is still unclear. While most studies show a negative impact of inequality over turnout, some others have found no relationship at all, and some others even suggest a positive impact. In this paper I argue that more fine-grained research is needed to understand this relationship. Firstly, standard measures of inequality, such as the Gini index, do not seem to be adequate to study the effect of inequality over turnout, given that changes in the Gini index may reflect either a change at the top or at the bottom of the income ladder. For that reason, alternative measures, such as the income ratio between quintiles, need to be tested. Secondly, differences in electoral engagement by income may be affected by the set of political alternatives available in each country. I hypothesize that when the polarization between parties on economic and social issues is high, that will induce a higher electoral turnout, given that voters will be highly motivated to avoid the undesired outcome. In order to test these hypotheses, I use data from CSES (Module 2) as well as aggregate data. Multilevel analysis is used to these hypotheses. Results are also compared with estimated dependent variable (EDV) techniques. Findings show that different measures of income inequality may change the relationship between inequality and electoral turnout. On the other hand, party polarization seems to be correlated with differences in turnout.

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... While declining voter turnout has many correlates, such as declining youth participation and socioeconomic factors (LeDuc & Pammett, 2014), others have pointed to economic inequality (C. J. Anderson & Beramendi, 2008;Filetti, 2016;Galbraith & Hale, 2008;Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Jensen & Jespersen, 2017;Lancee & Van de Werfhorst, 2012;Lister, 2007;Mahler, 2002;Schäfer, 2013;Solt, 2008Solt, , 2010Steinbrecher & Seeber, 2011). ...
... Canada features in four of the five aggregate-level studies (Fumagalli & Narciso, 2012;Lister, 2007;Mahler, 2002;Stockemer & Scruggs, 2012), ranging in inclusion between 2 and 12 elections, from 1965 to 2008. However, only five individual-level studies feature Canadian elections from international surveys, which are typically smaller than the Canadian Election Study (CES; C. J. Anderson & Beramendi, 2008;Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Persson 2010;Schäfer 2013;Solt, 2008). Each study includes between one and three of the federal elections held between 1993 and 2004, for a mere nine cumulative elections. ...
... More equal societies should also have a more equal system for provisioning services to all members of society and make it easier for the lower classes to participate in civic life (Lancee & Van de Werfhorst, 2012). It is possible that overall turnout can still rise with increased inequality because if all income groups are getting richer in absolute terms, then they will still have more resources available to participate in politics, despite the fact that the poorest are getting poorer in relative terms (Jaime- Castillo, 2009). However, the theory generally predicts that greater inequality is positively related for high-income earners and negatively related for lowincome earners (Solt, 2008). ...
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In recent decades, many countries ranging from quasidemocratic regimes to well-established democracies have faced democratic backsliding. In this study, we draw on Foa and Mounk and other related literature to examine the effects of regime delegitimation on democratic backsliding, focusing on youth’s trust in political institutions—parliament, legal systems, and political parties—relative to trust of the older population. We use an unbalanced panel data set that combines a country-year indicator of liberal democracy from the Varieties of Democracy project with aggregate survey-based measures of absolute and relative institutional trust from the Survey Data Recycling database; the data set covers 46 countries from 2009 to 2017. We find that the ratio of youth’s institutional trust to that of older persons has a substantive effect on the quality of liberal democracy in the future, and that the effect is amplified by the relative size of the youth population.
... While declining voter turnout has many correlates, such as declining youth participation and socioeconomic factors (LeDuc & Pammett, 2014), others have pointed to economic inequality (C. J. Anderson & Beramendi, 2008;Filetti, 2016;Galbraith & Hale, 2008;Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Jensen & Jespersen, 2017;Lancee & Van de Werfhorst, 2012;Lister, 2007;Mahler, 2002;Schäfer, 2013;Solt, 2008Solt, , 2010Steinbrecher & Seeber, 2011). ...
... Canada features in four of the five aggregate-level studies (Fumagalli & Narciso, 2012;Lister, 2007;Mahler, 2002;Stockemer & Scruggs, 2012), ranging in inclusion between 2 and 12 elections, from 1965 to 2008. However, only five individual-level studies feature Canadian elections from international surveys, which are typically smaller than the Canadian Election Study (CES; C. J. Anderson & Beramendi, 2008;Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Persson 2010;Schäfer 2013;Solt, 2008). Each study includes between one and three of the federal elections held between 1993 and 2004, for a mere nine cumulative elections. ...
... More equal societies should also have a more equal system for provisioning services to all members of society and make it easier for the lower classes to participate in civic life (Lancee & Van de Werfhorst, 2012). It is possible that overall turnout can still rise with increased inequality because if all income groups are getting richer in absolute terms, then they will still have more resources available to participate in politics, despite the fact that the poorest are getting poorer in relative terms (Jaime- Castillo, 2009). However, the theory generally predicts that greater inequality is positively related for high-income earners and negatively related for lowincome earners (Solt, 2008). ...
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Democracy’s normative foundation is political equality. Yet the dominance of the elite over the masses, and the systematic exclusion of particular social and economic groups from the influence on, and outcomes of, important decisions, manifests in political inequality. If this situation is normatively intolerable, why does political inequality endure? We build on the theoretical and empirical literature of politics and inequality and the collection of articles in this special issue to argue that the reproduction of political inequality within and across nations and time results from two key interrelated mechanisms: elite coordination and mass discoordination. We discuss how these mechanisms shape patterns of contestation and participation that reproduce inequalities in both old and new democraciesamer
... The relationship has predominantly been examined cross-nationally at the individual level (Anderson and Beramendi, 2008;Filetti, 2016;Filetti and Janmaat, 2018;Horn, 2011;Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Jensen and Jespersen, 2017;Lancee and Van de Werfhorst, 2012;Persson, 2010;Schäfer and Streeck, 2013;Schäfer and Schwander, 2019;Solt, 2008;Steinbrecher and Seeber, 2011;Wilford, 2020), but also within the US (Solt, 2010;Szewczyk and Crowder-Meyer, 2020). The studies span various time periods and find inequality to predominantly exert either a negative or null relationship. ...
... Lastly, and somewhat counter-intuitively, several papers find evidence that inequality can depress the turnout of the rich more than the poor (Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Persson, 2010;Steinbrecher and Seeber, 2011). However, they also find that the income gap in turnout is smaller in countries with high inequality, as the rich are relatively less likely to vote. ...
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Previous research into the relationship between income inequality and turnout inequality has produced mixed results, as consensus is lacking whether inequality reduces turnout for all income groups, low-income earners, or no one. Therefore, this paper builds on this literature by introducing supply-side logic, through the first individual-level test of the impact that income inequality (moderated by policy manifesto positions) has on turnout. It does so through multilevel logistic regressions utilizing mixed effects, on a sample of 30 advanced democracies in 102 elections from 1996 to 2016. It finds that higher levels of income inequality significantly reduce turnout and widen the turnout gap between rich and poor. However, it also finds that when party systems are more polarized, low-income earners are mobilized the greatest extent coupled with higher inequality, resulting in a significantly reduced income gap in turnout. The findings magnify the negative impacts income inequality can exert on political behavior and contribute to the study of policy offerings as a key moderating mechanism in the relationship.
... While declining voter turnout has many correlates, such as declining youth participation and socioeconomic factors (LeDuc & Pammett, 2014), others have pointed to economic inequality (C. J. Anderson & Beramendi, 2008;Filetti, 2016;Galbraith & Hale, 2008;Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Jensen & Jespersen, 2017;Lancee & Van de Werfhorst, 2012;Lister, 2007;Mahler, 2002;Schäfer, 2013;Solt, 2008Solt, , 2010Steinbrecher & Seeber, 2011). ...
... Canada features in four of the five aggregate-level studies (Fumagalli & Narciso, 2012;Lister, 2007;Mahler, 2002;Stockemer & Scruggs, 2012), ranging in inclusion between 2 and 12 elections, from 1965 to 2008. However, only five individual-level studies feature Canadian elections from international surveys, which are typically smaller than the Canadian Election Study (CES; C. J. Anderson & Beramendi, 2008;Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Persson 2010;Schäfer 2013;Solt, 2008). Each study includes between one and three of the federal elections held between 1993 and 2004, for a mere nine cumulative elections. ...
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Scholars have focused on the relationship between income inequality and voter turnout cross-nationally and within the United States. However, rising inequality and declining turnout has afflicted Canada to a greater extent than most other Western countries. As turnout in Canadian federal elections began to decline appreciably in the 1990s, inequality began to rise. With multilevel pooled analysis utilizing Canadian Election Studies from 1984 to 2015, party manifesto data, and measures of inequality at the subnational level, this article tests the effects of income inequality on turnout in Canada, and whether the relationship is conditioned by party policy programs. In line with relative power theory, mixed-effects regressions indicate that inequality is negatively associated with turnout, especially for low-income earners. However, latent conflict is manifested when political parties propose greater redistribution, as the negative effects of inequality on turnout are then significantly alleviated.
... Recent empirical research has centered on the influence of economic inequality, as a context-level variable, on citizenship participation (Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Solt, 2008Solt, , 2010Steiner, 2010). Along these lines, two main conceptual models can be identified: the conflict model and the relative power model. ...
... "When more affluent people use their money to amplify their own position in some debates, they drown out the voices of poorer citizens and so keep the issues they would raise from being discussed" (Solt, 2010, p. 287). To date, although most of the empirical evidence supports the relative power model over the conflict model (Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Solt, 2008Solt, , 2010, comparative research along these lines has centered on industrialized democracies with relatively low indexes of inequality. This phenomenon has already been studied at the school level, where there is empirical evidence that families' SES has an impact on students' expected participation in politics, since parents with higher SES are likely to be active citizens who discuss political issues at home and who become role models for political orientation and involvement (Schlozman et al., 2012). ...
... On one hand, Solt (2010) shows that income inequality largely depresses electoral participation in US gubernatorial elections, supporting relative power theory. Other cross-national studies confirm the negative impact of income inequality on political participation as well (Anderson and Beramendi, 2008;Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Solt, 2008). On the other hand, Newman et al. (2015) find that income inequality dampens citizens' belief in meritocracy and thus strengthens class consciousness in the US counties. ...
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Previous research has provided contested hypotheses about the impact of income inequality on electoral participation. This study reexamines the debate between conflict and relative power theories by focusing on a largely ignored factor: social mobility. We argue that social mobility conditions the inequality-participation nexus by alleviating the frustration, class conflict, and efficacy gaps between the rich and the poor that the prevailing theories assume income inequality to create. By utilizing the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, we test this argument focusing on US counties. Our analysis confirms that the effects of income inequality on citizens’ likelihood of voting vary depending on mobility, suggesting that social mobility provides a crucial context in which income inequality can play out in substantially different ways. This article implies that more scholarly endeavors should be made to clarify the multifaceted structure of inequality for improving our understanding of the relationship between economic and political inequality.
... However, highly unequal contexts (such as the US) may prime people to be more responsive to their economic environment. Studies concerning the relationship between inequality and political participation (e.g., Solt, 2008Solt, , 2010Jaime-Castillo, 2009;Stockemer and Scruggs, 2012), explore the possibility that local context can reduce the willingness of individuals to participate. For example, Jacobs and Soss (2010) show that propensity to vote is substantially lower in low-income counties of the US, a finding which they interpret as reflecting a divide in "collective efficacy" including "beliefs in government responsiveness" between neighborhoods. ...
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A popular explanation for the recent success of right-wing populist candidates, parties and movements is that this is the ‘revenge of the places that don’t matter’ (Rodriguez-Pose, 2018). Under this meso-level account, as economic development focuses on increasingly prosperous cities, voters in less dynamic and rural areas feel neglected by the political establishment, and back radical change. However, this premise is typically tested through the analysis of voting behaviour rather than directly through citizens’ feelings of political trust, and non-economic sources of grievance are not explored. We develop place-oriented measures of trust, perceived social marginality and perceived economic deprivation adapted from Gest et al (2018). We show that deprived and rural areas of Britain indeed lack trust in government. However, the accompanying sense of grievance for each type of area is different. Modelling these as separate outcomes, our analysis suggests that outside of cities, people lack trust because they feel socially marginal, whereas people in deprived areas lack trust owing to a combination of perceived economic deprivation and perceived social marginality. Our results speak to the need to recognise diversity among the ‘places that don’t matter’, and that people in these areas may reach a similar outlook on politics for different reasons.
... The existing research also revealed that the income gap in political participation differs between countries. To what extent people with different levels of income turn in ballots in a certain country depends on political and socio-economic conditions, economic inequality being among the most important ones (Solt 2008(Solt , 2010Scervini and Segatti 2012;Jaime-Castillo 2009;Matsubayashi and Sakaiya 2018). However, the findings in the literature on how economic inequality at the country level affects the income gap in voting turnout are conflicting. ...
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We investigated whether income gaps in voting turnout vary with country-level economic inequality, and whether this pattern differs between wealthier and less-wealthy countries. Moreover, we investigated whether the prevalence of clientelism was the underlying mechanism that accounts for the presumed negative interaction between relative income and economic inequality at lower levels of national wealth per capita. The harmonised PolPart dataset, combining cross-national surveys from 66 countries and 292 country-years, including 510,184 individuals, was analysed using multilevel logistic regression models. We found that the positive effect of relative income on voting was weaker at higher levels of economic inequality, independent of the level of national wealth. Although clientelism partially explains why economic inequality reduces the income gap in voter turnout, it does not do so in the way we expected. It seems to decrease turnout of higher income groups, rather than increase turnout of lower income groups. Importantly, that economic inequality reduces the income gap in voter turnout does not imply that economic inequality is positive for democratic representation, since economic inequality was found to depress the likelihood of voting for all income groups.
... A relevant part of this literature focuses on the consequences of economic inequality on electoral participation (Oliver 2001; Ansolabehere et al. 2003;Jaime Castillo 2009;Solt 2008Solt , 2010 and provides different theoretical explanations of the link between country income distribution and voting. On the one hand, economic inequality has been theorized as negatively affecting electoral participation because it determines the marginalization of the poor resulting from their low expectations of the probability of influencing political outcomes (relative power theory-Schattschneider 1960; Goodin and Dryzek 1980) or from their lack of resources to be invested in political engagement (resource theory- Brady et al. 1995). ...
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At least since the sans culottes-literally, "those without breeches"-streamed through the streets of Paris in 1789 to overthrow the ostentatious and corrupt ancien ŕegime, modern social theorists have grappled with the relationship between paoverty and political participation. Connections between people's economic resources and their political activities date back to antiquity, but the appearance in the late eighteenth century of democratic nations with novel forms of mass participation and the onslaught in the nineteenth century of the industrial revolution, with its starkly unequal social classes, led to new speculations about how income inequality produces political activity. Alexis de Tocqueville worried that democratic participation would allow the lower classes to use their political power to level society, erasing all differences (including income inequality) and creating uninspired homogeneity. Karl Marx predicted that capitalism's extreme income inequality would generate working-class consciousness and the revolution of the proletariat, ending in communism. In both formulations, economic inequality would spawn political participation that would transform society. The rapid increase in income inequality in the United States from 1979 to 1994 raises anew the classic concerns of social theorists. Modern social scientists have explored the relationship between income inequality and revolutionary activity across many countries (see, for example, Hibbs 1973; Gurr 1970), and they have investigated the relationship between income and conventional political activities such as voting, campaign work, and campaign contributions by individuals (Verba and Nie 1972; Wolfinger and Rosenstone 1980). Neither of these strains of research, however, adequately addresses the questions raised by the changes in the past thirty years in America. In a stable democratic society such as the United States, income inequality seems less likely to foster revolutionary activity than to erode the conventional activities of some groups and to stimulate the conventional activities of others, leading to changes in who gets what, when, and how. The finding from cross-sectional surveys that political activity increases with higher income captures just part of the story. It says nothing about how over-time increases in income inequality affect political participation. This chapter offers an analytical perspective on income, income inequality, and participation, and it presents new empirical work that goes beyond existing research. The analytical perspective draws on political science and economics to consider how income and income inequality affect participation. The most important contribution of the chapter is the 668 Social Inequality demonstration that changes in income and changes in economic inequality have very different implications for political participation. Income is an individual characteristic stemming from personal capabilities, opportunities, decisions, and luck. Income affects individual behaviors such as political participation because it provides a resource for participation. Nowhere is this more obvious than in political giving. It is not surprising that those with more income make greater contributions to politics and that those with less income make smaller contributions (Verba, Schlozman, and Brady 1995). It also seems reasonable to suppose that when a family moves from a higher income level to a lower one, its contributions to politics will be reduced. But does this necessarily mean that political activity by the lower classes will decrease and that the upper classes' political activity will increase when inequality widens? It does not. Income inequality is a property of society, a social fact about the distribution of incomes. An increase in inequality will not only reduce the incomes of lower-class families but also change that group's political circumstances. With this distressing change in social facts, lower-income people might decide to increase their political activity to redress the situation. They might decide that government should be used to adjust the degree of inequality by adjusting people's capacities, opportunities, luck, or decisionmaking. It seems possible that lower-class activity might increase in these circumstances. It also seems possible that upper-class participation might increase in response. This chapter investigates mechanisms that can explain how income and income inequality affect political activity. There are two goals here. One is to show how changes in income and income inequality can affect political activity in different, and sometimes opposite, ways. The arguments just cited suggest that they should operate differently, but the wellknown positive cross-sectional correlation of contributions and income only suggests that participation should increase with income. The second goal is to specify the empirical tests that might distinguish the impacts of income and income inequality. Thus, the aim is to determine the proper specification of a political activity equation such as: Political Activity a b (Income) c (Inequality) d (Controls) omitted variables, where a, b, c, and d are parameters. This chapter provides insights about how to measure income and inequality, the expected signs of b and c, whether to add an interaction term of income and inequality, and the identity of other variables that affect political activity. The empirical research reported here reveals the seemingly paradoxical result that from the 1970s through the 1990s, participatory inequality decreased for at least some forms of political participation and in some places as income inequality increased. The analytical perspective suggests various reasons why this might be so, and it provides avenues for future research. Although we append an extensive bibliography of articles that we have consulted, this chapter does not provide an article-by-article review of this literature, partly because there are several other excellent literature reviews (Leighley 1995; Schlozman 2002; Verba, Schlozman, and Brady this volume; Freeman this volume), but primarily because the greatest need is for an analytical perspective on this literature that considers the objectives of the Russell Sage Foundation's project on the "social dimensions of inequality." Without such a perspective, the empirical findings are obtuse, recondite, and confusing.
Article
The literature on the determinants of electoral participation has paid little attention to the role of labor organization. Adopting the familiar heuristic of costs and benefits, we argue that aggregate rates of turnout will be affected strongly by the strength of the labor movement. This hypothesis is tested using cross-sectional and pooled time series data for nineteen industrial democracies and the fifty American states. The results indicate that the greater the share of workers represented by unions, the greater is the turnout. Further analysis indicates that a portion of this effect occurs indirectly through labor's ability to move the ideological position of parties appealing to lower-and middle-status citizens farther to the left. The implications for the study of electoral politics, democratic theory, and public policy are discussed.
Article
Although measures of inequality are increasingly used to compare nations, cities, and other social units, the properties of alternative measures have received little attention in the sociological literature. This paper considers both theoretical and methodological implications of several common measures of inequality. The Gini index is found to satisfy the basic criteria of scale invariance and the principle of transfers, but two other measures--the coefficent of variation and Theil's measure--are usually preferable. While none of these measures is strictly appropriate for interval-level data, valid comparisons can be made in special circumstances. The social welfare function is considered as an alternative approach for developing measures of inequality, and methods of estimation, testing, and decomposition are presented.
Book
Employing analytical tools borrowed from game theory, Carles Boix offers a complete theory of political transitions. It is one in which political regimes ultimately depend on the nature of economic assets, their distribution among individuals, and the balance of power among different social groups. Backed by detailed historical research and extensive statistical analysis from the mid-nineteenth century, the study reveals why democracy emerged in classical Athens. It also covers the early triumph of democracy in nineteenth-century agrarian Norway, Switzerland and northeastern America as well as its failure in countries with a powerful landowning class.
Article
There are two contending accounts of cross-national variation in voter turnout rates. One emphasizes the role of institutions and electoral attributes, whereas the other stresses cultural and historical factors. The authors evaluate the merits of these two arguments. They first apply the model developed by R. W. Jackman to turnout rates during the 1980s, expanding the sample of industrial states to include three newer democracies with recent authoritarian histories: Greece, Portugal, and Spain. They then examine the potential impact of cultural variables on voter turnout rates. The authors conclude that the institutional argument outperforms the cultural account of conventional political participation.
Article
In this updated and expanded edition of his classic text, Arend Lijphart offers a broader and deeper analysis of worldwide democratic institutions than ever before. Examining thirty-six democracies during the period from 1945 to 2010, Lijphart arrives at important-and unexpected-conclusions about what type of democracy works best. Praise for the previous edition: "Magnificent.... The best-researched book on democracy in the world today."-Malcolm Mackerras, American Review of Politics "I can't think of another scholar as well qualified as Lijphart to write a book of this kind. He has an amazing grasp of the relevant literature, and he's compiled an unmatched collection of data."-Robert A. Dahl, Yale University "This sound comparative research ... will continue to be a standard in graduate and undergraduate courses in comparative politics."-Choice.
Article
Survey researchers have been reporting, for two decades or more, that a citizen's decision to participate in politics is most strongly influenced by his subjective sense of efficacy. Those who feel able to make a great impact tend to participate vigorously, while those who feel impotent tend to withdraw. According to the conventional wisdom all this is mostly inside one's head, with few objective – much less rational – referents. For example, social psychologists, and political researchers under their spell, see subjective efficacy as a mere reflection of ‘ego strength’. The more sociologically-inclined see psycho-cultural values (such as ‘civic orientation’) producing a sense of efficacy which, once again, bears little relationship to one's real influence.
Article
In The Civic Culture , perhaps the best known study of political culture, Almond and Verba say that ‘the relationship between political culture and political structure [is] one of the most significant researchable aspects of the problem of political stability and change’. I want to look at the way this relationship has been treated in one particular area, an area very relevant to questions of political stability and change in our own society; that is, in studies of political participation and apathy, especially research into the sense of political efficacy or competence. This is the area with which The Civic Culture itself is largely concerned, and it is now well established that individuals low in a sense of political efficacy tend to be apathetic about politics; indeed, Almond and Verba consider the sense of efficacy or competence to be a ‘key political attitude’.
Article
  This article explores the sources of variation in state redistribution across 13 developed democracies over the period 1979–2000, drawing upon data from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the Luxembourg Income Study and the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems. The discussion begins with the median voter hypothesis, which predicts that the extent of state redistribution in a country will be positively related to the degree of pre-government inequality. In seeking to extend the median voter approach, the article takes into account two additional variables: the level of electoral turnout and the degree to which turnout is skewed by income. The analysis confirms that pre-government inequality is indeed positively related to state redistribution. However, the predictive power of the median voter approach is significantly improved when account is taken of the level of electoral turnout and the extent to which the turnout rate reflects an income skew – variables that are themselves related. The link between turnout and redistribution is especially strong for social transfers as opposed to taxes, and for the lower and middle, as opposed to the upper, part of the income spectrum.
Article
Researchers often use as dependent variables quantities estimated from auxiliary data sets. Estimated dependent variables (EDV) models arise, for example, in studies where counties or states are the units of analysis and the dependent variable is an estimated mean or fraction. A new source of such EDV regressions has been created by King's ecological inference estima-tor (King 1997). Researchers have fit regression models to quantities such as percent minority turnout that were estimated using King's EI (Gay 1998). Scholars fitting EDV models have generally recognized that variation in the sampling variance of the observations on the de-pendent variable will induce heteroscedasticity. In this paper, I show that the most common approach to this problem, weighting the regression by the inverses of the sampling standard errors of the dependent variable, will usually lead to inefficient estimates and underestimated standard errors. I show that the degree of this inefficiency and overconfidence can be very large. I also suggest two alternative approaches that are simple to implement and more effi-cient and yield consistent standard error estimates.
Article
What effect, if any, does the extent of economic inequality in a country have upon the political engagement of its citizens? This study examines this question using data from multiple cross-national surveys of the advanced industrial democracies. It tests the theory that greater inequality increases the relative power of the wealthy to shape politics in their own favor against rival arguments that focus on the effects of inequality on citizens' objective interests or the resources they have available for political engagement. The analysis demonstrates that higher levels of income inequality powerfully depress political interest, the frequency of political discussion, and participation in elections among all but the most affluent citizens, providing compelling evidence that greater economic inequality yields greater political inequality.
Article
This article seeks to explain why electoral participation varies over time and space. It develops a hypothesis that one factor is the nature of social citizenship rights, which relates to welfare state provision. The article argues that institutions shape and influence social norms and, in so doing, affect individual behaviour. Rights which are more universal in nature encourage norms of solidarity and participation in ways that more residual systems do not. Therefore, where welfare states are more universalist in nature, we should see higher levels of participation. I use inequality rates as a measure of welfare state outputs to investigate this and find a significant negative relationship between inequality and electoral turnout. This suggests that the nature of welfare state institutions has an effect upon individuals' political behaviour.
Article
The amount of scholarly attention directed at resolving the question why people turn out to cast a vote is vast. In a research field dominated by empirical studies – such as the one on voter turnout – an overview of where we stand and what we know is not superfluous. Therefore, the present paper reviews and assesses the empirical evidence brought forward through a meta-analysis of 83 aggregate-level studies. We thereby concentrate on the effect of socio-economic, political and institutional variables. The results argue for the introduction of a ‘core’ model of voter turnout – including, among other elements, population size and election closeness – that can be used as a starting point for extending our knowledge on why people vote.
Article
The electronic version of this book has been prepared by scanning TIFF 600 dpi bitonal images of the pages of the text. Original source: To vote or not to vote? : the merits and limits of rational choice theory / André Blais.; Blais, André, 1947-.; viii, 200 p. ; 24 cm.; Pittsburgh, Pa. :; This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 2 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file.
Article
This paper explores the consequences of cognitive dissonance, coupled with time-inconsistent preferences, in an intertemporal decision problem with two distinct goals: acting decisively on early information (vision) and adjusting flexibly to late information (flexibility). The decision maker considered here is capable of manipulating information to serve her self-interests, but a tradeoff between distorted beliefs and distorted actions constrains the extent of information manipulation. Building on this tradeoff, the present model provides a unified framework to account for the conformity bias (excessive reliance on precedents) and the confirmatory bias (excessive attachment to initial perceptions).
Article
Corruption in the public sector erodes tax compliance and leads to higher tax evasion. Moreover, corrupt public officials abuse their public power to extort bribes from the private agents. In both types of interaction with the public sector, the private agents are bound to face uncertainty with respect to their disposable incomes. To analyse effects of this uncertainty, a stochastic dynamic growth model with the public sector is examined. It is shown that deterministic excessive red tape and corruption deteriorate the growth potential through income redistribution and public sector inefficiencies. Most importantly, it is demonstrated that the increase in corruption via higher uncertainty exerts adverse effects on capital accumulation, thus leading to lower growth rates.
Article
This paper provides a survey on studies that analyze the macroeconomic effects of intellectual property rights (IPR). The first part of this paper introduces different patent policy instruments and reviews their effects on R&D and economic growth. This part also discusses the distortionary effects and distributional consequences of IPR protection as well as empirical evidence on the effects of patent rights. Then, the second part considers the international aspects of IPR protection. In summary, this paper draws the following conclusions from the literature. Firstly, different patent policy instruments have different effects on R&D and growth. Secondly, there is empirical evidence supporting a positive relationship between IPR protection and innovation, but the evidence is stronger for developed countries than for developing countries. Thirdly, the optimal level of IPR protection should tradeoff the social benefits of enhanced innovation against the social costs of multiple distortions and income inequality. Finally, in an open economy, achieving the globally optimal level of protection requires an international coordination (rather than the harmonization) of IPR protection.
Voter Turnout: A Global Survey
  • International Institute
  • Electoral Democracy
  • Assistance
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance [IDEA] (2006). Voter Turnout: A Global Survey, www.idea.int/voter_turnout.
Democracy in Suburbia Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • J E Oliver
Oliver, J. E. (2001). Democracy in Suburbia. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2009). Factbook 2009: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics. Paris: OECD.
  • A Blais