Wealth and Voter Turnout: Investigating Twenty-Eight Democracies
US : Palgrave Macmillan
261 - 287 p.
Participation, Wealth, Income, Material well-being resources, Economic voting
Voter turnout still receives considerable attention in electoral studies. Recently, there have been numerous investigations of a neglected determinant, sometimes labeled “patrimony” and here labeled “wealth.” This variable, measuring how much wealth a voter has, appears to help account for party choice, beyond more usual socioeconomic measures. However, as yet we know little about how wealth affects voter turnout. In this article, we explore the relationship of wealth to voter turnout, using a battery of questions on wealth, administered in 28 nations, from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES). We observe that more wealth corresponds to higher voting turnout. Further, the strength of this link compares favorably to that of more traditional measures, such as income and education. Theoretically, such a sharp empirical result suggests expanding the resource model of electoral participation in order to include this less traditional, but more encompassing, measure of economic status.