Voter turnout in post-communist countries has exhibited wildly fluctuating patterns against a backdrop of economic and political volatility. In this article, we consider three explanations for this variation: a depressing disenchantment hypothesis that predicts voters are less likely to vote in elections when political and economic conditions are worse; a motivating disenchantment hypothesis that predicts voters are more likely to vote in elections when conditions are worse; and a stakes based hypothesis that predicts voters are more likely to vote in more important elections. Using an original aggregate-level cross-national time-series data set of 137 presidential and parliamentary elections in 19 post-communist countries, we find much stronger empirical support for the stakes-based approach to explaining variation in voter turnout than we do for either of the disenchantment-based approaches. Our findings offer a theoretically integrated picture of voter participation in the post-communist world, and, more broadly, contribute new insights to the general literature on turnout.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science