Identifying Effects of Voter Registration on Civic Engagement and Civic Attitudes

49 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2017 Last revised: 20 Oct 2019

See all articles by Yusaku Horiuchi

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Hiroto Katsumata

Yokohama City University

Ethan Woodard

Date Written: October 18, 2019

Abstract

Although reaching the voting age and getting enrolled in the voters' list is an essential first step for civic engagement in the electoral process, existing studies have rarely investigated the effect of voter registration on citizens' socio-political experiences and their civic attitudes. To fill this gap, we leverage a natural experiment in Japan, where all citizens are automatically registered to vote at the age of eighteen. The results of our exact-date-of-birth regression discontinuity analysis suggest that voter registration increases young citizens' interaction with other voters and facilitates their information acquisition before the election. It is not enough, however, to change their civic attitudes, such as a sense of efficacy. We argue that the intensity of civic engagement under the automatic registration system is weak due to the lack of citizens' self-initiated actions for voter registration itself.

Keywords: civic engagement, civic attitudes, voter registration, political interest, trust, efficacy, regression discontinuity, Japan

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Horiuchi, Yusaku and Katsumata, Hiroto and Woodard, Ethan, Identifying Effects of Voter Registration on Civic Engagement and Civic Attitudes (October 18, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2996902 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2996902

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/

Hiroto Katsumata

Yokohama City University ( email )

22-2 Seto
Kanazawa
Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0027
Japan

No contact information is available for Ethan Woodard

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