Voter Turnout and Political Equality: Testing the ‘Law of Dispersion’ in a Swedish Natural Experiment

Reprint No. 2013:36

Author(s): Mikael Persson, Maria Solevid and Richard ÖhrvallYear: 2013 Title: Politics Volume (No.): 33 (3) Pages: 172–184
Online article (restrictions may apply)

According to the ‘law of dispersion’, the level of inequality in political participation is higher when voter turnout is low. We empirically test this hypothesis by evaluating levels of voter turnout in the 2010 Swedish election to the Västra Götaland county council and in the 2011 re-election for the same county council. The re-election voter turnout was reduced by almost half, from 80.6 per cent to 44.1 per cent. Our results support the law of dispersion: the level of inequality in participation substantially increased between young and old, rich and poor, low and high educated and politically interested and uninterested.

Persson, Mikael, Maria Solevid and Richard Öhrvall (2013), "Voter Turnout and Political Equality: Testing the ‘Law of Dispersion’ in a Swedish Natural Experiment". Politics 33(3), 172–184.

Richard Öhrvall


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