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Compulsory voting, turnout, and government spending: Evidence from Austria

Mitchell Hoffman, Gianmarco León-Ciliotta () and María Lombardi

Journal of Public Economics, 2017, vol. 145, issue C, 103-115

Abstract: We study a unique quasi-experiment in Austria, where compulsory voting laws are changed across Austria's nine states at different times. Analyzing state and national elections from 1949 to 2010, we show that compulsory voting laws with weakly enforced fines increase turnout by roughly 10 percentage points. However, we find no evidence that this change in turnout affected government spending patterns (in levels or composition) or electoral outcomes. Individual-level data on turnout and political preferences suggest that these results occur because the impacts of compulsory voting on turnout are larger among those who are non-partisan, who have low interest in politics, and who are uninformed.

Keywords: Compulsory voting; Fiscal policy; Incentives to vote (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H10 D72 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Related works:
Working Paper: Compulsory Voting, Turnout, and Government Spending: Evidence from Austria (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Compulsory Voting, Turnout, and Government Spending: Evidence from Austria (2015) Downloads
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