Does Low Registration Increase Class Bias in Voting? Evidence from the Fifty States
39 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2004
Date Written: April 2001
The poor vote less than the rich; in any model estimating the determinants of political participation (voter registration or turnout), income has a positive effect on participation. The greater this effect, the greater the income bias in the electorate. Using data from the NES 1948-98, I show that in states where registration levels are low, the income bias is greater. A similar result holds for the education bias. Recent evidence from the CPS provides some confirmation of these findings, using registration laws to instrument for state registration levels. The CPS evidence suggests, however, that it is easier to reduce the bias in voter registration than in voter turnout.
Keywords: elections, voter turnout, voter registration, political participation, income inequality
JEL Classification: D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation