Voter Turnout and Intergenerational Redistribution

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper

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DatePublished - 1 Oct 2018
PublisherDepartment of Economics and Related Studies, University of York
Number of pages48
Volume2018
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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.

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