Tuesday Seminar – 9 December, 2019


Tuesday December 10, 2019: Matthew Polacko (Royal Holloway University of London). “Party Positions, Income Inequality, and Voter Turnout in Canada, 1984-2015.” Pavillon Lionel-Groulx, Université de Montréal, C-4145, 12h-13h. 

Abstract: Scholars have so far only examined the relationship between inequality and turnout cross-nationally, and within the United States (US). However, rising income inequality and declining voter turnout has afflicted Canada to a greater extent than most other advanced Western countries, providing an ideal test case. Turnout in Canadian federal elections began to decline appreciably in the 1990s, precisely when income inequality began to substantially rise. Moreover, the turnout inequality literature has thus far only focused on the demands of citizens, while neglecting the supply side policy offerings of parties. Therefore, in a multilevel pooled analysis utilizing Canadian Election Survey (CES) data from 1984 to 2015, party manifesto data, and measures of inequality at the sub-national level, this paper explores both sides of the voting equation in the Canadian context. The results indicate that income inequality is negatively associated with turnout and provinces with greater inequality have lower predicted turnout. However, when political parties propose greater redistribution – the negative effects of inequality on turnout are significantly alleviated.

This content has been updated on 9 December 2019 at 21 h 23 min.