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Turnout and polarization under alternative electoral systems

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date2015
Host publicationThe political economy of governance: institutions, political performance and elections
EditorsNorman Schofield, Gonzalo Caballero
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9783319155517
ISBN (Print)9783319155500
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameStudies in Political Economy
ISSN (Print)2364-5903


This chapter presents a formal model of electoral competition where parties’ platforms are endogenously chosen and depend on the degree of the electoral rule disproportionality. We first show that proportional electoral systems generate centrifugal forces that increase candidate differentiation. This in turn implies that more proportional systems are associated with lower levels of abstention from indifference. This two-step theoretical prediction of the effect of electoral systems on turnout is then empirically validated even when we jointly control for the prevailing pivotality and party-system size hypotheses. Thus, our work highlights an additional link in the proportionality-turnout nexus.