The author owes much to Daron Shaw for his invaluable advice and comments at various stages of this research. I am also grateful to Tse-min Lin and the anonymous referees for their helpful comments and suggestions.
A Comparative Analysis of Political Communication Systems and Voter Turnout
Article first published online: 27 MAR 2009
©2009, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 53, Issue 2, pages 376–393, April 2009
How to Cite
Baek, M. (2009), A Comparative Analysis of Political Communication Systems and Voter Turnout. American Journal of Political Science, 53: 376–393. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00376.x
- Issue published online: 27 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 27 MAR 2009
This article explores how political communication institutions affect cross-national differences in voter turnout in democratic elections. It demonstrates how the structure and means of conveying political messages—gauged by media systems, access to paid political television advertising, and campaign finance laws—explain variations in turnout across 74 countries. Relying on a “mobilization” perspective, I argue that institutional settings that reduce information costs for voters will increase turnout. The major empirical findings are twofold. First, campaign finance systems that allow more money (and electioneering communication) to enter election campaigns are associated with higher levels of voter turnout. Second, broadcasting systems and access to paid political television advertising explain cross-national variation in turnout, but their effects are more complex than initially expected. While public broadcasting clearly promotes higher levels of turnout, it also modifies the effect of paid advertising access on turnout.