Voter Turnout and the Labor Market

A PSC Brown Bag Seminar

Melvin Stephens, Jr
Kerwin Charles (University of Chicago)

Monday, 03-22-2010.   ARCHIVED EVENT

Location: 6050 ISR Thompson St

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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