As the World Turns Out: Economic Growth and Voter Turnout From a Global Perspective
Low voter turnout has been a characteristic of several recent national-level elections and referenda throughout the world. Scholarly literature has also documented declining turnout as a continuing trend in wealthy, advanced industrial democracies such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Yet, scholarly research using individual-level data has shown that wealthy, better educated people are more likely to vote than those with low income and/or low educational attainment. This study attempts to answer the question: Does economic growth lead to decreased voter turnout? This work uses aggregate-level data for 86 countries to explain voter turnout in lower house elections and employs a hot-deck imputation technique to fill in missing observations. Regression analysis of data from the World Bank, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, and the Polity IV project reveals little evidence to support the claim that economic growth affects voter turnout. Only one multiple regression model of countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region gives evidence supporting the principal hypothesis of this study that economic growth produces a decline in voter turnout. The literature review and null findings of this research establish that quantitative, scholarly research on voter turnout is more concerned with explaining voter turnout in industrial democracies than in developing countries. In the current context of globalization, future research must be grounded in a more encompassing theory if voter turnout is to be treated as a universal characteristic of all democratic elections.
School:Bowling Green State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:voter turnout economic growth data imputation global perspective machine politics international political economy democracy declining hot deck development public spending on health educa
Date of Publication:01/01/2007