On Compulsory Voting and Income Inequality in a Cross-Section of Countries

26 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2011

See all articles by Alberto Chong

Alberto Chong

University of Ottawa

Mauricio Olivera

George Washington University; Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - Research Department

Date Written: May 2005


This paper explores the link between compulsory voting and income distribution using a cross-section of countries around the world. Our empirical cross-country analysis for 91 countries during the period 1960-2000 shows that compulsory voting, when enforced strictly, improves income distribution, as measured by the Gini coefficient and the bottom income quintiles of the population. Our findings are robust to changes and additions to our benchmark specification. Since poorer countries suffer from relatively greater income inequality, it might make sense to promote such voting schemes in developing regions such as Latin America. This proposal assumes that bureaucratic costs related with design and implementation are not excessive.

Suggested Citation

Chong, Alberto and Olivera, Mauricio, On Compulsory Voting and Income Inequality in a Cross-Section of Countries (May 2005). IDB Working Paper No. 444, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1818733 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1818733

Alberto Chong (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa ( email )

2292 Edwin Crescent
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 1H7

Mauricio Olivera

George Washington University ( email )

710 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - Research Department ( email )

1300 New York Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

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