English title: The Role of Electoral Systems for the Translation of Political Trust into Electoral Participation

Author(s): Christoph Arndt -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2012


A bulk of literature has been written on the effects of electoral systems on turnout. Similarly, several studies have examined the interplay between political trust and political participation. However, we lack a clear understanding of how electoral systems translate political trust and distrust into electoral participation. This paper seeks to analyze this hitherto often neglected relationship and argues that majoritarian electoral system do foster the abstention of distrusting citizens. In contrast, PR systems – offering more political alternatives than majoritarian ones – keep a higher proportion of disaffected voters at the ballots. Moreover, this effect is contingent on the electoral threshold applied. Using European Social Survey data, the analysis largely confirms these expectations and shows that majoritarian systems produce higher abstention among distrusting citizens compared to PR systems. The paper concludes with a discussion of the political implications of the findings.

Conference name: Declining Political Trust, Disenchantment with Politics, and Methods of Political Participation

Location: Cologne, Germany

Start date: Jan 25, 2012

Type: Paper

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