The effect of globalization on voter turnout




Djukic, Dragana

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Despite significant efforts to understand the recent decline of voter turnout in democratic societies, the empirical explanations behind this development as well as regarding the overall cross-national variation in turnout rates remain rather limited. I contribute to this discourse by examining the effects of globalization on electoral turnout. More specifically, I seek to amend the argument raised by Hellwig who claims that economic globalization dissuades voters from voting on the matters related to economic policy and, at the same time, encourages them to put more weight on non-economic issue evaluations. I strive towards the modification of this argument by broadening the concept of globalization to include not only its economic aspects, such as trade and financial investments, but rather the overall spectrum of international effects on domestic policy provision, including the matters of politics, society and markets. Contrary to Hellwig, I posit a negative relationship between globalization and turnout in general and I test my hypothesis on an aggregate-level dataset covering parliamentary elections in 25 OECD democracies from 1970 to 2006. The empirical results show that only economic globalization exhibits a consistently significant effect on voter turnout while the influence of political and social types of international forces are found to be statistically inconsequential. While I find no empirical support for my argument, my analysis uncovers more comprehensively the mechanism of how economic globalization decreases turnout by looking at international pressures across a variety of issue areas, both economic and non-economic ones, thus comparing their individual effects.



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