The Legacy of Lethargy: How elections to the European Parliament depress turnout
Title: The Legacy of Lethargy: How elections to the European Parliament depress turnout
Citation: Electoral Studies, 2011, 30, 1, 67-76, Special Symposium on Electoral Democracy in the European Union
Series/Number: [EUDO Public Opinion Observatory]
Why has turnout in European Parliament (EP) elections remained so low, despite attempts to expand the Parliament’s powers? One possible answer is that because little is at stake in these second-order elections only those with an established habit of voting, acquired in previous national elections, can be counted on to vote. Others argue that low turnout is an indication of apathy or even scepticism towards Europe. This article conducts a critical test of the “little at stake” hypothesis by focusing on a testable implication: that turnout at these elections will be particularly low on the part of voters not yet socialized into habitual voting. This proposition is examined using both time-series cross-section analyses and a regression discontinuity design. Our findings show that EP elections depress turnout as they inculcate habits of non-voting, with long-term implications for political participation in EU member states.
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction 2. European Parliament elections and their effects on turnout 3. Aggregate-level analyses of national turnout 4. Multi-level analysis of turnout 5. Discussion Appendix. Supplementary material References
Publication based on research carried out in the framework of the European Union Democracy Observatory (EUDO) of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute.; The journal issue has been produced in the framework of the PIREDEU Project, one of the projects carried out by the EUDO Public Opinion Observatory.
Files in this item
There are no files associated with this item.