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Fiscal rules and electoral turnout

Lasse Aaskoven

Political Science Research and Methods, 2021, vol. 9, issue 2, 259-274

Abstract: A growing literature has argued that electoral turnout decreases the more government policy constrained by economic and institutional factors. This paper investigates whether a certain type of policy constraint, fiscal rules, lowers turnout. Since fiscal rules set limits for government fiscal policy, they should lower the incentive for citizens to participate electorally. However, using parliamentary turnout data in a large panel of democratic countries, little robust evidence is found in favor of fiscal rules having a depressing effect on electoral turnout. Analysis of European individual-level data also suggests that national fiscal rules do not affect inequality in electoral turnout between income groups either. Difference-in-discontinuity evidence from Italian municipalities further suggests that the results are causally identified.

Date: 2021
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