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The role of local voting rights for foreign citizens – a catalyst for integration?

Mattias Engdahl (), Karl-Oskar Lindgren () and Olof Rosenqvist ()
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Mattias Engdahl: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden, https://www.ifau.se/sv/Om-IFAU/Medarbetare/Forskare-Utredare/Mattias-Engdahl/
Karl-Oskar Lindgren: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden, https://www.ifau.se/sv/Om-IFAU/Medarbetare/Forskare-Utredare/Karl-Oskar-Lindgren/
Olof Rosenqvist: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden, https://www.ifau.se/sv/Om-IFAU/Medarbetare/Forskare-Utredare/Olof-Rosenqvist/

No 2018:3, Working Paper Series from IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

Abstract: We study the short- and long-term impact of local enfranchisement of foreign citizens born outside the EU on political integration outcomes. Local voting rights for foreigners were introduced in the Swedish electoral system in 1976. This right to vote is conditional on having spent at least three years in Sweden prior to the election. Until 1998 Swedish elections at all levels were held every three years; since then they have been held every four years. The wait time before the first opportunity to vote thus differs substantially for immigrants immigrating just before this cutoff date versus just after. Our analysis shows that immigrants whose timing of arrival makes them eligible to vote after slightly more than three years in the country are not more likely to naturalize or vote in later elections compared to immigrants whose timing of arrival means they must wait six or seven years to vote. The results suggest that earlier opportunities for political participation do not improve subsequent political integration of immigrants as measured by naturalization and voting.

Keywords: Local election; voting rights; noncitizens; integration; naturalization; turnout (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D02 D72 J15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-eur, nep-mig and nep-pol
Date: 2018-04-06
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2018_003

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