Should Voting Be Mandatory?

Posted: 9 Jul 2014 Last revised: 28 Nov 2018

See all articles by Lauro Carnicelli

Lauro Carnicelli

University of Helsinki - Department of Political and Economic Studies

Date Written: November 2, 2015


This paper conjectures if it’s worth for a country to have a mandatory voting scheme. For that purpose, an overlapping generations model, with budget constrained agents, idiosyncratic shocks and probabilistic voting is used to compare two economies with elective and obligatory voting set ups and see which delivers the biggest welfare. Results show that a)the introduction of mandatory voting increases welfare b)there is an ambiguous effect of inequality c)there is evidence that an increase in voting turnout can enhance welfare. Furthermore, the model shows the importance of adding the voting turnout as a weight in the planners’ problem.

Keywords: Voting, inequality, social security,

JEL Classification: E62, H55

Suggested Citation

Carnicelli, Lauro, Should Voting Be Mandatory? (November 2, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Lauro Carnicelli (Contact Author)

University of Helsinki - Department of Political and Economic Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 54
FIN-00014 Helsinki

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