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Too afraid to vote? The effects of COVID-19 on voting behaviour

Tania Fernandez-Navia, Eduardo Polo-Muro and David Tercero-Lucas

European Journal of Political Economy, 2021, vol. 69, issue C

Abstract: This paper studies the causal effect of local exposure to COVID-19 on voting behaviour and electoral outcomes using evidence from the regional elections held in Spain on 12 July 2020. Exploiting the variation in exposure to COVID-19 and using a difference-in-differences identification strategy, we show that turnout was between 2.6 and 5.1 percentage points lower in municipalities that experienced positive cases of COVID-19. In addition, the results show a substantial increase in the probability of voting for nationalist parties. We discuss the idea of perceived fear being the potential mechanism driving our results.

Keywords: COVID-19; Elections; Voting behaviour; Turnout; Vote share (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D70 D72 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2021.102012

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