Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

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.

Copyright
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
References
Hide All
Ballinger Chris. 2007. “Compulsory Voting: Palliative Care for Democracy in the UK.” Paper presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions workshop, “Compulsory Voting: Principles and Practice,” Helsinki.
Bilodeau Antoine and Blais André. 2005. “Le vote obligatoire, a-t-il un effet de socialisation politique?” Paper presented to Colloque int. vote obligatoire, Inst. d'études Polit. Lille.
Blais André and Carty R. Kenneth. 1990. “Does Proportional Representation Foster Voter Turnout?European Journal of Political Research 18(2): 167–81.
Blais André and Dobrzynska Agnieszka. 1998. “Turnout in Electoral Democracies.” European Journal of Political Research 33(2): 239–61.
Cohen Jonathan D. and Blum Kenneth I.. 2002. “Reward and Decision.” Neuron 36: 193–98.
Czesnik Mikolaj. 2007. “Is Compulsory Voting a Remedy? Evidence from the 2001 Polish Parliamentary Elections.” Paper presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions workshop, “Compulsory Voting: Principles and Practice,” Helsinki.
Druckman James N. and Lupia Arthur. Forthcoming. “Mind, Will, and Choice: Lessons from Experiments in Contextual Variation.” In The Oxford Handbook on Contextual Political Analysis, ed. Tilly Charles and Goodin Robert E.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Druckman James N., Green Donald P., Kuklinski James H. and Lupia Arthur. 2006. “The Growth and Development of Experimental Research in Political Science.” American Political Science Review 100(4): 627–37.
Engelen Bart and Hooghe Marc. 2007. “Compulsory Voting and its Effects on Political Participation, Interest and Efficacy.” Paper presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions workshop, “Compulsory Voting: Principles and Practice,” Helsinki.
Fournier Patrick. 2002. “The Uninformed Canadian Voter.” In Citizen Politics: Research and Theory in Canadian Political Behaviour, ed. Everitt Joanna and O'Neill Brenda. Toronto: Oxford University Press.
Franklin Mark N. 1996. “Electoral Participation.” In Comparing Democracies: Elections and Voting in Global Perspective, ed. LeDuc Laurence, Niemi Richard G and Norris Pippa. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Franklin Mark N. 2004. Voter Turnout and the Dynamics of Electoral Competition in Established Democracies since 1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gerber Alan S., Green Donald P. and Kaplan Edward H.. 2004. “The Illusion of Learning from Observational Research.” In Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics, ed. Shapiro Ian, Smith Rogers and Massoud Tarek. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hirczy Wolfgand. 1994. “The Impact of Mandatory Voting Laws on Turnout: A Quasi-Experimental Approach.” Electoral Studies 13: 6476.
Jackman Robert W. 1987. “Political Institutions and Voter Turnout in the Industrial Democracies.” American Political Science Review 81(2): 405–24.
Kahneman Daniel. 2003. “A Psychological Perspective of Economics.” The American Economic Review 93: 162–68.
Kahneman Daniel and Tversky Amos. 1979. “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decisions under Risk.” Econometrica 47: 313–27.
King Gary, Murray Christopher J.L., Saloman Joshua A. and Tandon Ajay. 2004. “Enhancing the Validity and Cross-Cultural Comparability of Measurement in Survey Research.” American Political Science Review 98(1): 191207.
Lijphart Arend. 1997. “Unequal Participation: Democracy's Unresolved Dilemma.” American Political Science Review 91(1): 114.
Lupia Arthur. 2002. “New Ideas in Experimental Political Science.” Political Analysis 10: 319–24.
McDermott Rose. 2002. “Experimental Methodology in Political Science.” Political Analysis 10(4): 325–42.
Shapiro Ian, Smith Rogers and Massoud Tarek, eds. 2004. Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

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
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 19
Total number of PDF views: 167 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 572 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.