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To mobilise and demobilise : the puzzling decline of voter turnout in post-communist democracies

Abstract : This dissertation studies the puzzling decline of voter turnout in ten post­communist democracies that joined the European Union in 2004 and 2007. These countries experienced the most spectacular erosion of electoral participation in democratic regimes since World War Two. To solve this puzzle, my dissertation follows a systematic, theory­based, quantitative and comparative approach. It is structured by a newly­conceived master conceptual scheme for the study of aggregated voter turnout. This theoretical framework distinguishes between four types of turnout drivers based on the nature and temporality of their effects. The role of each type in the post­communist decline is theorised and considered in turn. The empirical sections employ several types of quantitative methods and intra­ but also inter­regional comparisons with established and other new democracies. They draw on several original datasets, the most important of which comprises the quasi­totality of democratic legislative elections held around the globe between 1939 and 2010. The results question the conventional wisdom that the post­communist turnout decline is mostly due to citizens’ dissatisfaction. Instead, they show that it is driven by no less than six other causes that relate to democratisation, institutional change and shifts in the composition of the electorate. It is the multiplicity of causal factors that explains the unparalleled startling magnitude by which voting rates decreased in the ten countries at hand. Besides solving the central puzzle, this dissertation yields a number of new middle­range theories and insights that pertain to electoral participation in both new and established democracies.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 11:51:47 AM
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Filip Kostelka. To mobilise and demobilise : the puzzling decline of voter turnout in post-communist democracies. Political science. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015IEPP0022⟩. ⟨tel-03647131⟩



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