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Political Institutions, Voter Turnout and Policy Outcomes

Eileen Fumagalli and Gaia Narciso

Abstract

We question whether the impact of constitutions on economic outcomes (Persson and Tabellini, 2004) is direct. We show that voter turnout is a channel through which forms of government affect economic policies. We provide evidence of the existence of two relationships: the first links constitutions to voter turnout; the second connects voter turnout to policy outcomes. Presidential regimes are found to induce less voter participation in national elections. We then analyze the impact of constitutional variables and voter participation in shaping fiscal policies. Forms of governments lose their explanatory power once participation is accounted for. Higher participation induces an increase in government expenditure, total revenues and welfare state spending. We conclude that forms of government affect policy outcomes through electoral participation.

JEL:

D72, E60, H00


Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).