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Is the First Time Special?: The Effect of Past Eligibility on Turnout in the Swedish Election to the European Parliament 2009
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The objective of this study is to assess the causal effect of previous eligibility on subsequent electoral participation. With data for age and turnout for almost all (97.6 %) eligible to vote in the Swedish election to the European Parliament 2009, both previous eligibility and outcome (i.e. if an individual voted in 2009) is measured. The difference in turnout between individuals who barely had passed the age limit at certain previous elections, and those who just had not, is estimated. Within a regression discontinuity framework, the interpretation of this difference as the causal effect of previous eligibility can be established and its validity evaluated.  

Similar studies have concluded negative effects of previous eligibility in Denmark and Finland (Bhatti et al., 2016) and mostly positive effects in the US (Coppock and Green 2016; Dinas, 2012; Meredith, 2009). The results in this thesis indicate that the effect of one-time eligibility is negative and amounts to about 2.5 percentage points, or about 7 % (0.9 standard deviations in the sample). This is hypothesized to be due to a psychological positive first-time boost to voting - it is simply more enthusing to be able to vote for the first time. No significant results for earlier eligibility is found, indicating that it does not matter what type of election one first is eligible to vote in, contrary to previous findings (Franklin and Hobolt, 2011).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 50 p.
Keyword [en]
Electoral Studies, Eligibility, Voting Behavior, Regression Discontinuity Design
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296407OAI: diva2:938021
Subject / course
Political Science
Educational program
Master Programme in Political Science
Available from: 2016-06-16 Created: 2016-06-16 Last updated: 2016-06-16Bibliographically approved

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