The Mediating Effect of the Institutional/Electoral and the Welfare Context on the Political Participation of Young Citizens
26 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 5 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2012
Low and biased political participation are likely to negatively affect the functioning, the legitimacy, and the quality of democratic political systems. Particular concern has been raised by the increasing age gap in voter turnout. Age-related resources and the cost of electoral participation are identified as the main causes of young voters' abstention. Based on theoretical expectations and empirical evidence of cross-national variations in the age gap, the paper focuses on the micro-macro relationship between age and electoral institutions, and the welfare context. The analysis combines individual level data from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) and the European Social Survey (ESS) for 68 elections in the period 2001-2011 with country level information for eight electoral institutions and two welfare context characteristics (social protection expenditure and labour market regulation). The empirical results reveal that two electoral institutions and the welfare context characteristics appear to effectively moderate the effect of age and the electoral participation of young citizens.
Keywords: political participation, young citizens, elections, electoral institutions, welfare systems, labour market regulation
JEL Classification: D72
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