Mobility, Mobilization, and Registration: A Generational Model

41 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 10 Oct 2010

See all articles by Eitan Hersh

Eitan Hersh

Yale University

Stephen Ansolabehere

Harvard University - Department of Government

Kenneth Shepsle

Harvard University - Department of Government

Date Written: July 27, 2010

Abstract

Age is among the strongest predictors of political participation, yet it is also among the least well understood. We offer a model of participation in the U.S. voter registration system - the first step in the voting process. In this model, older people are more apt to participate than younger people, but not because of their age nor because of the civic resources, social capital, or political interest that accumulate with age. A strong relationship between age and participation takes form simply as a byproduct of the rules of the registration system, namely that participation is voluntary and that it is residentially based. A new, national random sample of 1.8 million voter registration records is employed to test the model. The model provides a theoretical foundation for the relationship between age and participation, identifies the functional form of that relationship, and solves a puzzle about the nature of participatory bias.

Suggested Citation

Hersh, Eitan and Ansolabehere, Stephen and Shepsle, Kenneth, Mobility, Mobilization, and Registration: A Generational Model (July 27, 2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1642573

Eitan Hersh (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.eitanhersh.com

Stephen Ansolabehere

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kenneth Shepsle

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
(617) 495-4928 (Phone)
(617) 496-5149 (Fax)

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