Economic Adversity and Voter Participation: Evidence from Turkish Parliamentary Elections


Kama Masala Ö. , Aksoy T. , Taştan H.

2021 Meeting of the European Public Choice Society, Lille, France, 21 - 22 April 2021

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Unpublished
  • City: Lille
  • Country: France

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between economic adversity and voter participation in Turkish parliamentary elections. We estimate a dynamic model of voter turnout rate using a cross-regional panel dataset covering all parliamentary elections over the 1987-2015 period.  In addition to lagged voter turnout to account for persistency in electoral participation, our models include two measures of economic adversity, inflation, and economic growth. Empirical results indicate that inflation has a positive and significant effect on voter turnout, while economic growth is insignificant in all specifications.  Moreover, inflation leads to higher voter turnout in provinces with a denser population, more urbanization, and more abundant human capital. Finally, there appears to be persistence in regional voter turnout rates supporting the habit formation argument. Overall, these results are consistent with the mobilization hypothesis, which suggests that adverse economic conditions lead to higher electoral participation by stimulating voters to punish the government.