Effects of Municipal Mergers on Voter Turnout

VATT Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 106

26 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2018

See all articles by Simon Lapointe

Simon Lapointe

VATT Institute for Economic Research; Government of the Republic of Finland - VATT Institute for Economic Research

Tuukka Saarimaa

Aalto University - School of Business; Aalto University - School of Engineering

Janne Tukiainen

VATT Institute for Economic Research; University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 28, 2018

Abstract

We study the effects of municipal mergers on voter turnout in a difference-in -differences framework, using data from a wave of municipal mergers in Finland in 2009. Analysing two pre-merger elections and three post-merger elections, spanning a total of 17 years, we find that municipal mergers decrease voter turnout by 4 percentage points in the long run in the relatively small municipalities compared to similar small municipalities that did not merge. As the average turnout rate prior to merging in this group was around 69%, this is a substantial effect. We also find that virtually nothing happens to turnout in the municipalities that were relatively large within their merger. Furthermore, mergers are associated with a decrease in voters’ political efficacy and turnout decreases more in those municipalities that experience larger decreases in efficacy.

Keywords: Difference-in-differences, jurisdiction size, municipal mergers, voter turnout

JEL Classification: C23, D72, H70

Suggested Citation

Lapointe, Simon and Saarimaa, Tuukka and Tukiainen, Janne, Effects of Municipal Mergers on Voter Turnout (March 28, 2018). VATT Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 106. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3151251 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3151251

Simon Lapointe (Contact Author)

VATT Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Government of the Republic of Finland - VATT Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Arkadiankatu 7
P.O Box 1279
Helsinki, FIN-00531
Finland

Tuukka Saarimaa

Aalto University - School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
AALTO, FI-00076
Finland

Aalto University - School of Engineering ( email )

PO BOX 14100
Aalto 00076
Finland

Janne Tukiainen

VATT Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Arkadiankatu 7
P.O Box 1279
Helsinki, FIN-00101
Finland

University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Rehtorinpellonkatu 3
Turku, 20014
Finland

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