Theories and Models of Turnout

Harold D. Clarke, David Sanders, Marianne C. Stewart and Paul Whiteley

in Political Choice in Britain

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199244881
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601521 | DOI:
 Theories and Models of Turnout

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Uses confirmatory factor analysis to locate electoral participation in a broader matrix of political activities, and presents alternative theoretical models that might be used to explain the decline in electoral turnout in Britain and other mature democracies. The relative deprivation or equity-fairness model stresses the gap between what an individual expects and what s/he gets out of life. The civic voluntarism model focuses on the resources that individuals bring to bear on the decision to vote or not and the mobilization efforts that are made by other actors. The social capital model emphasizes social trust and the individual’s involvement with social organizations. The cognitive mobilization model highlights the role of political interest, political knowledge, and media usage. Finally, the general incentives model supplements a broadly defined Downsian-style cost-benefit analysis with variables that take account of a variety of other incentives, such as ‘doing one’s democratic duty’.

Keywords: civic voluntarism; cognitive mobilization; general incentives; relative deprivation; social capital; turnout

Chapter.  9119 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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