The Origins and Consequences of Compulsory Voting in Latin America
This dissertation engages in a comprehensive evaluation of compulsory voting in Latin America. In doing so, it first analyzes the origins of compulsory voting in Latin America and demonstrates that variations in the balance of power among elite factions and between the elite and disenfranchised groups are fundamental for understanding whether universal suffrage and compulsory voting were implemented as a package or if they were implemented at different points in time in Latin America. Second, this dissertation examines whether compulsory voting diminishes differences in electoral participation across socioeconomic and political groups and provides strong evidence that compulsory voting is more effective at reducing political differences than socioeconomic or civic-minded gaps in electoral participation. Finally, this dissertation assesses the effect of compulsory voting on citizens’ sense of duty and finds that reminders of punishments reduce citizens’ levels of civic duty and that this effect is monotonic: the harsher the punishment, the lower the intrinsic motivation to vote.