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Joseph W. Robbins and Lance Y. Hunter, "Impact of electoral volatility and party replacement on voter turnout levels," Party Politics, 18 (November, 2012), 919-939. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol18/issue6/ ]

First paragraph:
The role of party systems in the electoral process has been well documented. Despite the burgeoning literature on voter turnout, however, scholars have arrived at a theoretical crossroads in discussing the importance of party systems to electoral participation. Some researchers find that larger or multiparty party systems increase turnout levels (Blais and Carty, 1990; Blais and Dobrzynska, 1998; Franklin, 1999; Gosnell, 1930; Jackman and Miller, 1995; Ladner and Milner, 1999; Powell, 1980, 1986; Tingsten, 1937), while others discover that multiparty systems may be inversely related to turnout rates (Fornos et al., 2004; Kostadinova, 2003; Kostadinova and Power, 2007). In these studies, researchers have typically used the number (or effective number) of parties in aggregate analyses to gauge the impact of party systems on the polity.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Turnout, Volatility and Replacement by Region
Table 2. Summary Statistics of Variables Used
Table 3. Time Series Regression of Parliamentary Turnout Levels
Table 4. Subsequent Changes in Turnout Levels

Last Paragraph:
Overall, this work has discovered that where volatility and party replacement levels are low, turnout rates rise. We believe that this can be attributed to the assets inherent in institutionalized party systems. Namely, that these organizations provide clearer policy platforms to voters, thus making it easier for citizens to discern between parties. Also, because stable party systems typically have stronger ties with social, ethnic, economic or other groups, it should be easier for them to mobilize potential voters. Even when controlling for other institutional, economic and social factors, our results remain statistically significant and in the hypothesized direction. Accordingly, we are convinced that PSI plays a fundamental role in understanding turnout levels.

Last updated November 2012