Compulsory Voting and Income Inequality: Evidence for Lijphart’s Proposition from Venezuela

Latin American Politics and Society, Vol. 59, No. 2, pp. 122-144, Summer 2017

35 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2014 Last revised: 26 Aug 2017

See all articles by John M. Carey

John M. Carey

Dartmouth College

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Date Written: January 15, 2017

Abstract

What difference does it make if the state makes people vote? The question is central to normative debates about the rights and duties of citizens in a democracy, and to contemporary policy debates in a number of Latin American countries over what actions states should take to encourage electoral participation. By focusing on a rare case of abolishing compulsory voting in Venezuela, we show that not forcing people to vote yielded a more unequal distribution of income. Our evidence supports Arend Lijphart’s claim, advanced in his 1996 presidential address to the American Political Science Association, that compulsory voting can offset class bias in turnout and, in turn, contribute to the equality of influence.

Keywords: compulsory voting, income inequality, turnout, electoral participation, Venezuela

JEL Classification: D72, D31, N36, N46

Suggested Citation

Carey, John Michael and Horiuchi, Yusaku, Compulsory Voting and Income Inequality: Evidence for Lijphart’s Proposition from Venezuela (January 15, 2017). Latin American Politics and Society, Vol. 59, No. 2, pp. 122-144, Summer 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2374092 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2374092

John Michael Carey

Dartmouth College ( email )

Department of Sociology
Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603 646 1130 (Phone)
603 646 2154 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~jcarey

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/horiuchi/

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