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Margin of victory vs. opportunity-cost of time as voting motivators in the Biobio Region

Acuña, Andrés (2014): Margin of victory vs. opportunity-cost of time as voting motivators in the Biobio Region.

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Abstract

The apathy for electoral and political participation in Latin America shows an increasing trend that deserves the scholar community's attention. In this sense, this paper models the voter registration decision in a mandatory voting system that includes the margin of victory as a potential motivator of voter enrollment. The empirical test is focused on the Biobio region, Chile, during the period 2003-2011. The results indicate that voter enrollment is negatively influenced by the margin of victory only if the model is separately regressed for presidential and mayoral elections. Marginal effects from W2LT regressions are lower in mayoral than in presidential elections, which indicates that the electorate participates depending on what is the political office in question. The citizen participation and racial effects are larger for men than women, which could reorient the design of public policy aimed to encourage the civic involvement of male indigenous population. Finally, the discrepancy between the W2LT results from two distant periods suggests a structural change in the Biobio's electorate during the last decade.

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