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Bernard Grofman and Peter Selb, "Turnout and the (effective) number of parties at the national and district levels: A puzzle-solving approach," Party Politics, 17 (January, 2011), 93-117. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol17/issue1/ ]

First paragraph:
Empirical evidence is overwhelming that nationwide turnout is higher on average in proportional representation (PR) systems than in countries with pluralitarian/majoritarian elections. This finding survives even when we control for other factors, such as the nature of registration procedures, weekend voting, compulsory voting, and so on, that also impact turnout (for an extended survey of the theoretical and empirical literature on this topic, see Blais, 2006; Blais and Aarts, 2006; see also Franklin, 2004).

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Turnout versus the effective number of parties (votes) in Swiss National Council elections, 1971-2007 
Figure 2. Turnout versus the effective number of parties (votes) in Swiss National Council elections, 1971-2007 
Table 1. Fixed-effects regression of turnout on ENP and a linear trend in districts with m >1. 
Figure 3. Effective number of parties (votes) versus district magnitude in Swiss National Council elections, 1971-2007 (n 14253) and in Spanish elections to the Lower Chamber, 1977-2004 (n 14 468) for all districts. 
Figure 4. Turnout versus Index of Competition in Swiss National Council elections, 1971-2007 (n 14 55 for SMDs, 188 for MMDs) and in Spanish elections to the Lower Chamber, 
Figure 5. Index of Competition versus the effective number of parties (votes) in Swiss National Council elections, 1971-2007 (n 14 55 for SMDs, 198 for MMDs) and in Spanish elections to the Lower Chamber, 1977-2004 (n 14 18 for SMDs, 450 for MMDs). 
Figure 6. Index of Competition versus district magnitude in Swiss National Council elections, 1971-2007 (n 253), and in Spanish elections to the Lower Chamber, 1977-2004 (n 468) for all districts. 
Figure 7. Index of Disproportionality versus district magnitude in Swiss National Council elections, 1971-2007 (n 14253), and in Spanish elections to the Lower Chamber, 1977-2004 (n 14 468) for all districts. 
Figure8.Turnout versus district magnitude in Swiss National Council elections, 1971-2007(n243), and in Spanish elections to the Lowe rChamber, 1977-2004(n14468) for all districts. 
Figure9. Disproportionality versus the effective number of parties (votes) in Swiss National Council elections, 1971-2007(n 1455 for SMDs, 198 for MMDs) and in Spanish elections to the Lower Chamber, 1977-2004 (n1418 for SMDs, 450 for MMDs). 
Figure 10. Competition versus Disproportionality in Swiss National Council elections, 1971-2007 (n 14 55 for SMDs, 198 for MMDs) and in Spanish elections to the Lower Chamber, 1977-2004 (n 14 18 for SMDs, 450 for MMDs).

Last Paragraph:
(First paragraph of discussion) Using district-level data for both Spain and Switzerland, we have shown that higher ENP does not imply higher political turnout. These findings allow us straightforwardly to explain our initial puzzle of why there is not a strong relationship cross-nationally between the effective number of political parties and turnout by showing the absence of a districtlevel link between the effective number of political parties and political competition in any country (at least for districts with more than two effective parties or in districts of magnitudes greater than 1). Thus, our country-specific findings allow us to explain the nationallevel puzzle as essentially an ecological artefact, in that the MMD districts found in PR systems, on average, do exhibit higher turnout than SMDs, but turnout does not necessarily rise with m, once we move beyond the contrast between m14 1andm >1.

Last updated December 2011