NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

María Lombardi

Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Jaume I building, 20.1E74
Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
08005 Barcelona, Spain

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2016Compulsory Voting, Turnout, and Government Spending: Evidence from Austria
with Mitchell Hoffman, Gianmarco León: w22221
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 1949-2010, 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 these results occur because individuals swayed to vote due to compulsory voting are more likely to be non-partisan, have low interest in politics, and be uninformed.

Published: Hoffman, Mitchell & León, Gianmarco & Lombardi, María, 2017. "Compulsory voting, turnout, and government spending: Evidence from Austria," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 103-115. citation courtesy of

 
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