Persistent Inequalities: The Origins of Intergenerational Associations in Voter Turnout

Sven Oskarsson, Rafael Ahlskog, Christopher T. Dawes, Karl Oskar Lindgren

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We use population-wide Swedish data with information on adopted children’s biological and adoptive parents to assess the importance of prebirth factors (measured by biological parents’ voting) and postbirth socialization factors (as captured by adoptive parents’ voting) for generating intergenerational associations in voter turnout. We find that both prebirth and postbirth factors explain the parent-child similarity in turnout behavior. More importantly, we show that the conditions that strengthen the social pathways to intergenerational transmission—such as youth and exposure to consistent parental behavior—at the same time weaken the biological mechanisms and vice versa. Follow-up analyses based on US and UK samples suggest that these results are externally valid. Our findings are important for understanding how political inequality is reproduced across generations.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1337-1352
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Politics
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jul 2022

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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