American Economic Journal: Economic Policy
no. 3, August 2023
This paper assesses the long-term consequences of voting for democracy. We study Chile's 1988 plebiscite, which ended 15 years of dictatorship and reestablished democracy. Taking advantage of individual-level voting data, we implement an age-based regression discontinuity design comparing long-run registration and turnout rates across marginally eligible and ineligible individuals. We find plebiscite eligibility increased electoral turnout three decades later. The magnitude of the initial mobilization emerges as the mechanism. Plebiscite eligibility induced a sizable share of less-educated voters to register compared to other upstream elections. The event contributed to the emergence of one-party rule the 20 years following democratization.
Kaplan, Ethan, Fernando Saltiel, and Sergio Urzúa.
"Voting for Democracy: Chile's Plebiscito and the Electoral Participation of a Generation."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements