Sociologický časopis
Czech sociological review


← Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 1/2011

Lukáš Linek:
Why Did Voter Turnout in the Czech General Elections Change between 1996 and 2010? [9]

Linek, Lukáš. 2011. „Proč se měnila úroveň účasti ve volbách do Poslanecké sněmovny v letech 1996–2010?.“ Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 47 (1): 9-32

Abstract: The aim of this study is to explain why turnout in Czech general elections exhibited considerable variation between 1996 and 2010. Using valence theory this article explores the differential turnout in terms of the expected benefits of voting for a party on the basis of valence and policy considerations. This individual-level analysis of electoral participation employs four post-election surveys and uses an alternative operationalisation of the expected benefits of voting, which makes it possible to conduct cross-national and cross-time comparisons. The results presented in the article demonstrate that change in voter turnout across general elections stems from the change in the expected benefits from voting aggregated at the level of the electorate. One key implication of this research is that attempts to facilitate increased electoral participation through institutional reform are unlikely to be successful. This is because turnout is primarily determined by voter motivation. Increased turnout depends critically on ensuring a level of party choice that gives voters an incentive to go the polls.

Keywords: turnout, abstention, valence politics, Czech Republic.

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