Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online.
Best of both worlds? Independent lists and voter turnout in local elections, by António F. Tavares, Ringa Raudla, & Tiago Silva
How does the presence of independent lists influence voter turnout in municipal and sub-municipal elections? Despite the persistence of independent lists in local elections of European countries, this question has remained under-explored. Our paper examines the influence of independent lists on voter turnout both theoretically and empirically. In the theoretical discussion, we outline two competing hypotheses. On one hand, the best of both worlds hypothesis predicts that owing to increased choice for the voters, the presence of nonpartisan lists would increase voter turnout. On the other hand, the competing hypothesis suggests the opposite due to higher information costs associated with independent lists. We test our hypotheses using data from four election cycles of Portuguese municipal and sub-municipal levels of government. Since 2001, Portugal’s electoral law allows the participation of nonpartisan lists of candidates in local elections. The empirical analysis employs fractional probit and beta regression models and finds strong support for the best of both worlds hypothesis, both at the municipal and the sub-municipal levels.