DISENTANGLING THE EFFECTS OF POLITICAL FRAGMENTATION ON VOTER TURNOUT: THE FLEMISH MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
Political fragmentation has been shown to be an important determinant of electoral turnout. We introduce an empirical approach that allows disentangling the impact of two dimensions of such fragmentation: the number of parties and the size inequalities between those parties. This is important as it allows us to assess the size, significance, and direction of the individual effects of each element – an aspect disregarded in previous research. Our empirical analysis of the 2000 Flemish municipal elections shows that a higher number of parties competing in the election lowers turnout. The size inequalities between the parties exert a positive – though insignificant – influence on voter participation.
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