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Votes and Participation: the effect of election frequency on voter turnout

This presentation studies the effect of proliferating elections and referendums on voter turnout rates in European democracies.

  • 17 Mar 2020, 1.15pm to 17 Mar 2020, 2.05pm GMT
  • 1 West North, 2.04, University of Bath
  • This event is free
Polling station entrance
Polling station sign door in Craven Arms, Shropshire, United Kingdom. Credit: Elliott Stallion.

In recent decades, liberal democracies have considerably expanded the scope for citizen participation. Because of processes such as decentralisation, regional integration, frequent use of referenda and other, more idiosyncratic, institutional change, citizens are required to participate in an increasingly large number of votes.

Join Dr Filip Kostelka, University of Essex, as he discusses the effect of these institutional reforms and practices on electoral participation. Building on the existing literature, it is hypothesised that the unprecedented proliferation of electoral contests exerts negative effects on voting rates even in the most important elections and thus contributes to the global decline in voter turnout.

The findings have implications for a better understanding of the current participation trends, the on-going transformation of democratic citizenship, and the consequences of democratic institutional engineering.

This seminar is part of the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies research seminar series 2019-20.

Speaker profile

Dr Filip Kostelka is Lecturer in Government at the University of Essex. His chief research interests lie in political behaviour, party systems, and democratisation.

His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the American Political Science Review, British Journal of Political Science, or Comparative Political Studies and publicised in media outlets such as Le Monde, Radio Canada, France Inter, or Euroactiv.

Co-authors: Eva Krejcova (University of Cambridge), Nicolas Sauger (Sciences Po, Paris), and Alexander Wuttke (University of Mannheim)


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1 West North, 2.04 University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom

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