Downstream Effects of Voting on Turnout and Political Preferences: Long-Run Evidence from the UK

25 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2021

See all articles by Jonas Jessen

Jonas Jessen

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); European University Viadrina

Daniel Kühnle

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

Markus Wagner

University of Vienna

Abstract

Does voting have downstream consequences for turnout and political preferences? While research initially showed strong support for the notion that the experience of voting fosters civic habits and political engagement, recent work has cast doubt on how universal these patterns are. We contribute to this debate by studying the short- and long-term impact of earlier voting eligibility on subsequent turnout and political preferences using rich panel data from the UK. Exploiting the eligibility cut-off for national elections within a regression discontinuity design, we document a short-run increase in party identification, political interest and democratic norms for those able to vote earlier. However, these short-term effects quickly fade away and do not translate into permanent changes in turnout propensity or political preferences. Our results imply that the transformative effects of voting are short-lived, at most, in a setting with low institutional barriers to vote.

JEL Classification: D01, D70, D72

Suggested Citation

Jessen, Jonas and Kühnle, Daniel and Wagner, Markus, Downstream Effects of Voting on Turnout and Political Preferences: Long-Run Evidence from the UK. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14296, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3833228 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3833228

Jonas Jessen (Contact Author)

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstr
58
Berlin
Germany

European University Viadrina ( email )

Germany

Daniel Kühnle

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg ( email )

Fachbereich Rechtswissenschaft
Schillerstr. 1
Erlangen, DE 91054
Germany

Markus Wagner

University of Vienna

Bruenner Strasse 72
Vienna, Vienna 1090
Austria

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