Economic Globalization and Turnout: Compensation, Constraint and Ownership

39 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 8 Sep 2010

See all articles by John Marshall

John Marshall

Harvard University

Stephen Fisher

University of Oxford

Date Written: 2010


This paper considers the direct and indirect effects of economic globalization on turnout in OECD countries since the 1970s. We find evidence at the individual and aggregate levels for a constraint mechanism whereby globalization reduces turnout as voters become indifferent between parties and less efficacious. Contrary to the compensation hypothesis proposing that citizens receive compensation for the costs of globalization in the form of public services, we find spending decreases with globalization, and this in turn reduces the incentive for voters to turn out. We also observe that while measures of the globalization of ownership (such as foreign direct investment) affect turnout, there is less evidence for an effect operating through international trade at the aggregate level. We suggest that this is because the interdependence of economies through patterns of cross-national ownership may be more constraining on government policy than high levels of international trade.

Suggested Citation

Marshall, John and Fisher, Stephen, Economic Globalization and Turnout: Compensation, Constraint and Ownership (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

John Marshall (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Stephen Fisher

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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