Explaining gender differences in turnout using panel data across elections

Hilde Coffe, Ignacio Lago

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The current study offers the first systematic analysis of the impact of citizens’ interest in and perceptions of specific elections on gender differences in turnout. Methods: Using an Internet panel survey conducted by the Making Electoral Democracy Work project covering the 2013 state, 2013 federal, and 2014 European elections in Bavaria (Germany), our probit models examine mediation and moderation effects of three election-related characteristics: the issues that citizens consider most central in the elections, citizens’ interest in the elections, and the perceived influence among citizens of the policies of the different levels of policy making on their well-being. Results: The results indicate an overall gender difference in turnout in Bavaria with women being less likely to vote compared with men. Yet, this gender effect ceases to be significant once citizens’ attitudes toward and perceptions of specific elections are controlled for. Interest in the election at hand has a particularly strong and positive effect on the likelihood of voting. We find no significant gender interactions. Conclusion: Citizens' interest in and perceptions of specific elections have a strong impact on turnout and gender differences therein.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)940-959
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number2
Early online date23 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020

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