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Disentangling the Effects of Political Fragmentation on Voter Turnout: the Flemish Municipal Elections
Unformatted Document Text:  Disentangling the Effects of Political Fragmentation on Voter Turnout: the Flemish Municipal Elections Benny Geys * Bruno Heyndels Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of Economics, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussel, Belgium e-mail: ## email not listed ## ## email not listed ## Abstract. 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 dimensionsof 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 individualeffects of each element – an aspect disregarded in previous research. Our empirical analysisof the 2000 Flemish municipal elections shows that a higher number of parties competing inthe election lowers turnout. The size-inequalities between the parties exert a positive –though insignificant – influence on voter participation. JEL codes: D72; H70Keywords: Turnout, Political Fragmentation * Corresponding author: Benny Geys, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2 (2C144), B-1050 Brussel,Belgium - e-mail: ## email not listed ## Tel: +32 2 629 22 72; Fax: +32 2 629 20 60. We thank John Ashworth,Matthias Benz, An Buysschaert, Bruno De Borger, Kris Deschouwer, Marc Hooghe, Wim Moesen, PerTovmo, Kristien Werck and participants to the Annual Meeting of the European Public Choice Society inBelgirate, Italy for their comments on previous versions of this paper.

Authors: Geys, Benny.
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Disentangling the Effects
of Political Fragmentation on Voter Turnout:
the Flemish Municipal Elections
Benny Geys
*
Bruno Heyndels
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of Economics, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussel, Belgium
e-mail: ## email not listed ## ## email not listed ##
Abstract.
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.
JEL codes: D72; H70
Keywords: Turnout, Political Fragmentation
*
Corresponding author: Benny Geys, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2 (2C144), B-1050 Brussel,
Belgium - e-mail: ## email not listed ## Tel: +32 2 629 22 72; Fax: +32 2 629 20 60. We thank John Ashworth,
Matthias Benz, An Buysschaert, Bruno De Borger, Kris Deschouwer, Marc Hooghe, Wim Moesen, Per
Tovmo, Kristien Werck and participants to the Annual Meeting of the European Public Choice Society in
Belgirate, Italy for their comments on previous versions of this paper.


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