Sick Leave From Work and Voting Booth? A Register-Based Study on Health and Turnout

20 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014

See all articles by Mikko Mattila

Mikko Mattila

University of Helsinki

Hanna Wass

University of Helsinki

Hannu Lahtinen

University of Helsinki

Pekka Martikainen

University of Helsinki

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

A growing body of studies suggests that poor health or disability decreases turnout. Previous empirical analyses have, however, faced certain limitations, such as use of survey data and generic measures of health based on self-assessment. Using individual-level register data from Finland with information on sickness allowance episodes and voting, we aim to deepen the understanding of the health-turnout relationship by examining following questions. First, what is the degree of health problems that begin to negatively influence turnout? Second, what is the cumulative effect of health problems on voting? And third, how does change in health condition influence voting activity? The results indicate that sickness absences are associated with lower turnout. Even short term sickness absences are related to slightly lower voting activity but a substantial drop in voting probability occurs only among those with long sickness absence spells. Health problems are also cumulative in nature. Accumulation of sickness absences over several years decreases voting propensity more than health problems suffered only in the year prior to the elections. Finally, even after recovering from earlier health problems the voting propensity stays lower than among those who have not experienced major health problems.

Keywords: health, turnout, sickness allowence

Suggested Citation

Mattila, Mikko and Wass, Hanna and Lahtinen, Hannu and Martikainen, Pekka, Sick Leave From Work and Voting Booth? A Register-Based Study on Health and Turnout (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2453338

Mikko Mattila (Contact Author)

University of Helsinki ( email )

University of Helsinki
Helsinki, FIN-00014
Finland

Hanna Wass

University of Helsinki ( email )

University of Helsinki
Helsinki, FIN-00014
Finland

Hannu Lahtinen

University of Helsinki ( email )

University of Helsinki
Helsinki, FIN-00014
Finland

Pekka Martikainen

University of Helsinki ( email )

University of Helsinki
Helsinki, FIN-00014
Finland

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