Voter Turnout and Intergenerational Redistribution

Michael Klien, Mickael Melki, Andrew Christopher Pickering

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


Electoral reforms that lead to reduced turnout modify the composition of the electorate, potentially over-representing specific interests in policy implementation. Intergenerational redistribution tilts in favor of the elderly when they are sufficiently numerous, but in favor of the young rich otherwise. We exploit a natural experiment provided by the repeal of compulsory voting in Austrian parliamentary elections to study how exogenous turnout decline affects intergenerational redistribution through pro-young public education spending in Austrian municipalities. Empirically, education spending falls when the proportion of elderly voters exceeds 21% of the electorate, but rises when the proportion of elderly voters is below this threshold.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Economics and Related Studies, University of York
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

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