Testing the economic theory of democracy, More potential voters - less voting?

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 08.12.2014, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Dinand Webbink (Erasmus University Rotterdam)


This study investigate the impact of population size on voter turnout. We use plausibly exogenous increases in population size of Dutch municipalities, as a result of mergers, to show that it significantly reduced voter turnout in local elections in the period 1977-2010. Difference-in-differences estimates reveal that large municipal mergers reduce voter turnout by approximately 5 percentage points in local elections but not in national elections. This suggests that the change in population size is an important mechanism through which a merger affects voter turnout. We continue by presenting estimates of the effect of population size on voter turnout in a 2SLS approach in which the merger is used as an instrument for population size. We find that voter turnout is reduced by 5 percent if the population doubles in size.

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