Are there any studies that show impact of compulsory voting on outcomes?

By outcomes, I mean (all other things being held equal), whether compulsory voting results in better HDI, or economic growth, or any other "well-being" measure that's reliably measurable.


1 Answer 1


Several people are have published work on compulsory voting and income inequality. In a broad cross-national paper (Chong and Olivera, 2008. "Does Compulsory Voting Help Equalize Incomes? Economics and Politics 20.3. "), enforceable compulsory voting is associated with greater income equality as measured by the GINI coefficient.

"Enforceable" is an important caveat - many countries with compulsory voting policies don't enforce them well. This page shows countries, their voting requirements, and voter turnout figures. Countries with compulsory voting range from about 70% - 80% voter turnout. The possible penalties for not voting range from nothing at all to imprisonment or losing the right to vote altogether.

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    I'd appreciate if you add a brief couple of quotes from the synopsis as well as actual paper title, if the link goes dead
    – user4012
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 15:27
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    As in all soft sciences a proper experiment is hard to run; However for this exact scenario there has been a study where compulsory voting has been REMOVED and how that changed Gini which comes to the same conclusion: sites.dartmouth.edu/jcarey/files/2013/02/…
    – user45891
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 12:57
  • "Countries with compulsory voting range from about 70% - 80% voter turnout" Last I recall Australia manages about 97% with enforced voting?
    – user8398
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 7:57
  • @inappropriateCode - It's hard to know what to do with that. It might be true, but the link supporting the 70-80% turnout figure is dead. If I can dig up the original source, I'll let you know what I find. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 14:53
  • @indigochild According to this from the Australian Electoral Commission: "The turnout at Australian elections has never fallen below 90% since the introduction of compulsory voting in 1924." Though I'm not sure if Australia is outlier compared to other nations.
    – user8398
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 15:12

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