Disenchanted or discerning: Voter turnout in post-communist countries

Alexander C. Pacek, Grigore Pop-Eleches, Joshua A. Tucker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Voter turnout in post-communist countries has exhibited wildly fluctuating patterns against a backdrop of economic and political volatility. In this article, we consider three explanations for this variation: a depressing disenchantment hypothesis that predicts voters are less likely to vote in elections when political and economic conditions are worse; a motivating disenchantment hypothesis that predicts voters are more likely to vote in elections when conditions are worse; and a stakes based hypothesis that predicts voters are more likely to vote in more important elections. Using an original aggregate-level cross-national time-series data set of 137 presidential and parliamentary elections in 19 post-communist countries, we find much stronger empirical support for the stakes-based approach to explaining variation in voter turnout than we do for either of the disenchantment-based approaches. Our findings offer a theoretically integrated picture of voter participation in the post-communist world, and, more broadly, contribute new insights to the general literature on turnout.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)473-491
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Politics
    Volume71
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 2009

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

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