“The Economic Role of Government and the EU and Turnout in European Elections”

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Richard S. Flickinger
conference paper description
Accounting for variation, especially decline, in European voter turnout has drawn considerable recent scholarly attention. Most studies stress either the role of individuals’ traits and attitudes and/or the impact of political parties and institutional factors as the key variables. Our paper brings an added dimension by asking whether changes in the size of national government and the EU, as well as their perceived roles in the economic order, also affect voter turnout in European Parliament elections. We employ a series of mulitvariate models analyzing aggregate data from Eurobarometer and OECD sources. Compulsory voting, as logic may suggest and as others have found, is the single most potent predictor of turnout. But other variables-socio-demographic, economic, attitudinal and institutional-also matter for turnout in European Parliament elections.