Separation of Powers and Turnout

30 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2007

See all articles by Rebecca Morton

Rebecca Morton

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Charles R. Shipan

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science

Melanie Springer

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 5, 2007

Abstract

Do separation of powers systems produce lower levels of voter turnout? We analyze this question by taking advantage of institutional variation across U.S. states. In some states, governors and legislatures share power roughly evenly, which creates a sharing of powers that approximates a classic separation of powers system. In other states, power is unequally distributed, thereby approximating a system in which powers are not shared. We find that turnout is lower in systems in which power is shared equally, indicating that separation of powers does indeed decrease turnout.

Keywords: voter turnout, separation of powers

JEL Classification: H1

Suggested Citation

Morton, Rebecca and Shipan, Charles R. and Springer, Melanie, Separation of Powers and Turnout (April 5, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1015897 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1015897

Rebecca Morton

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

715 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-998-3706 (Phone)

Charles R. Shipan (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-615-9140 (Phone)

Melanie Springer

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science ( email )

One Brookings Drive
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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