Mariella Gonzales, Gianmarco León-Ciliotta, Luis R. Martinez, 23 September 2019

To counter the worldwide fall in electoral participation over the last 30 years, some governments have introduced compulsory voting, with ten countries currently punishing abstainers with a fine. This column examines the question of whether and how voter turnout is affected by changes to the value of the fine, drawing on the experience of Peru, where voting has been compulsory since 1933 and the abstention fine was reformed after 2006. The study finds that compulsory voting with low fines helps reduce the burden on those that pay them without fundamentally undermining the effectiveness of the system. 

Mitchell Hoffman, Gianmarco León-Ciliotta, María Lombardi, 30 October 2016

Electoral participation has declined in advanced democracies in recent years. This column examines the impact of compulsory voting on government policy, assessing whether increasing voter turnout would translate into changes in public policies. Using evidence from Austria, it finds that compulsory voting does not significantly affect government spending, but that the case may be different for countries with historically low turnout.

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CEPR Policy Research