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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science