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psc brown bag iconVoter Turnout and the Labor Market

Mel Stephens (School of Public Policy, Department of Economics, Population Studies Center and Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan), Kerwin Charles (University of Chicago)

03/22/2010, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

[VIDEO]

Using county-level data, and a variety of OLS and TSLS models, we show that better local labor market performance lowers turnout in gubernatorial and Senate elections but has no effect on Presidential turnout. To reconcile these new results, we present a model of expressive voting in which greater labor supply in a good labor market lowers the time agents devote to being politically informed and raises the logistical costs of voting. Various pieces of evidence, including individual fixed effect results from the American National Election Study, are more supportive of the political attentiveness argument than alternative explanations.


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