Declining voter turnout in advanced industrial democracies, 1950 to 1997: The effects of declining group mobilization

Mark Gray, Miki Caul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

236 Scopus citations

Abstract

Past comparative voting-behavior research has revealed that electoral institutions can explain much of the variation in voter turnout between nations. This study takes an alternative and dynamic approach by identifying and explaining a pattern of turnout decline within industrial democracies, which is beyond purely institutional explanation. Multivariate analysis of a pooled cross section of 18 industrial democracies between 1950 and 1997 suggests that turnout decline can best be explained in terms of changing patterns of group mobilization and electorate demographics. The authors specifically point to the decline of unions and labor parties, which have traditionally been associated with the mobilization of peripheral voters and the real increases in the cost of mobilization. The authors control for institutional changes and find that they are less useful in explaining variation in turnout within advanced industrial democracies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1122
Number of pages32
JournalComparative Political Studies
Volume33
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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