Rain, Opportunity Costs of Voting, and Voter Turnout: Evidence from South Korea

40 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2015

See all articles by Woo Chang Kang

Woo Chang Kang

Department of Politics and International Relations

Date Written: August 12, 2015

Abstract

Existing studies on the importance of election day weather generally consider poor weather an additional cost in the voting calculus, which reduces turnout. In this paper, I claim that the effect of weather on turnout can differ across groups of voters depending on how weather affects the opportunity cost of voting. Inclement weather typically increases the direct cost of voting by making it less convenient. However, it may actually reduce the opportunity cost of voting for people with occupations that rely on good weather conditions. To support this claim, I compare the varying incentives for turnout under different weather conditions in different localities of South Korea based on the proportion of agricultural workers in each population. An analysis of four legislative elections since 2000 shows that the effects of rainfall on turnout are heterogeneous across communities. In urban communities, rainfall decreases turnout regardless of whether an election is competitive. In agricultural communities, rainfall increases turnout, and this positive association is stronger in closer elections.

Suggested Citation

Kang, Woo Chang, Rain, Opportunity Costs of Voting, and Voter Turnout: Evidence from South Korea (August 12, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2643223 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2643223

Woo Chang Kang (Contact Author)

Department of Politics and International Relations ( email )

1 Anam-dong 5 ka
Seoul
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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