Studies on “size and democracy” argue that smaller political units should exhibit higher voter turnout rates. Empirical tests largely confirm this assumption. In contrast, more complex analyses that integrate individual and contextual data arrive at inconclusive results with regard to Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. In order to reevaluate the relationship between municipality size and turnout, this article uses a pooled time series analysis to study seven local elections in all municipalities of the Austrian state of Salzburg (excluding the city of Salzburg) between 1979 and 2009. The multi-level analysis (non-hierarchical cross-classified model) that accounts for context effects provides new evidence that the size of the municipality has a negative impact on turnout rates. Above all, the interaction between the size of the municipalities and the degree of societal fractionalization appears to be a decisive factor.
Bibliographical noteFunding: Open access funding provided by Paris Lodron University of Salzburg / Springer Compact
Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012
- 506 Political Science