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Strategies of Secession and Counter-Secession

The Consequences of Electoral System Change for Voter Turnout in Established Democracies

Institutions
 
Political Participation
 
Electoral Behaviour
 
Presenter
Julian Noseck
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Authors
Julian Noseck
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

Abstract
The electoral system was found to be a highly critical factor for voter turnout. Especially, it was asked which type of electoral system could have a positive impact on turnout rates. In this respect, many empirical studies found evidence that systems of proportional representation are more favorable for electoral participation compared to majoritarian systems. Especially the higher proportionality and usually higher district magnitudes in systems of proportional representation were seen as meaningful to explain the differences between the different types of electoral systems with regard to voter turnout. This paper tests this claim by analyzing district-level data from eleven established democracies in a cross-sectional model. The paper finds support for the thesis that proportional representation suits more for higher electoral participation in comparison with less proportional electoral systems: Electoral system proportionality and district magnitude have a positive effect on aggregate turnout rates.
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