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Does Compulsory Voting Lead to More Informed and Engaged Citizens? An Experimental Test

  • Peter John Loewen (a1), Henry Milner (a1) and Bruce M. Hicks (a1)
Abstract

Abstract. Does compulsory voting lead to more knowledgeable and engaged citizens? We report the results from a recent experiment measuring such “second-order effects” in a compulsory voting environment. We conducted the experiment during the 2007 Quebec provincial election among 121 students at a Montreal CEGEP. To receive payment, all the students were required to complete two surveys; half were also required to vote. By comparing knowledge and engagement measures between the two groups, we can measure the second-order effects of compulsory voting. We find little or no such effects.

Résumé. Le vote obligatoire augmente-t-il le niveau d'information et l'engagement politique des citoyens? Nous présentons les résultats d'une expérience mesurant de tels « effets secondaires' » dans un environnement caractérisé par le vote obligatoire. Nous avons mené une expérience auprès de 121 étudiants d'un cégep montréalais lors de l'élection québécoise de 2007. Afin de recevoir une somme d'argent, les étudiants n'avaient qu'à compléter deux questionnaires; une moitié des participants devait en plus voter le jour de l'élection. En comparant le niveau d'information et l'engagement entre les deux groupes, nous pouvons mesurer les effets secondaires du vote obligatoire. Notre expérience révèle que le vote obligatoire a peu ou pas d'effet sur les connaissances et la participation.

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Corresponding author
Peter Loewen, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, Succ. Centre-ville, Montreal, Canada, H3C 3J7, peter.john.loewen@umontreal.ca
Henry Milner, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, Succ. Centre-ville, Montreal, Canada, H3C 3J7, henry.milner@umontreal.ca
Bruce M. Hicks, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, Succ. Centre-ville, Montreal, Canada, H3C 3J7, bruce.hicks@umontreal.ca
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
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