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The Weather Effect: estimating the effect of voter turnout on electoral outcomes in Italy

Alessandro Sforza
Ano de Divulgação 
Código JEL 
D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
P16 - Political Economy
This paper examines the effect of variation in voter turnout to electoral outcomes in Italy. I use data on spatial distribution of turnout for 2008 and 2013 to examine how it can affect differences in electoral outcomes. Exploiting the exogenous variation in weather conditions across municipalities I use rainfalls to instrument for turnout levels: if non-voters systematically differ from habitual voters in terms of their characteristics or preferences, the effect of turnout on the electoral outcome can generate "extreme" outcomes. I find that bad weather decreases turnout and that a higher turnout favours the Movimento 5 Stelle, while both the Democrats and the Centre are negatively affected.
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