Turnout and social fractionalisation. Articles uri icon

publication date

  • May 2018

start page

  • 113

end page

  • 132


  • 32

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0263-3957

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-9256


  • Social fractionalisation has been omitted in most influential cross-sectional studies on turnout, and when it has been included, evidence is, at best, mixed. This article addresses this gap from two perspectives. First, using aggregated data from 22 countries we show that turnout is inversely related to ethnolinguistic fractionalisation, even after controlling for institutional, political and socioeconomic determinants. Second, we rely on data from elections in two multilingual territories, Catalonia and Quebec, to examine both the direct and indirect causal mechanisms for which voting and the sense of duty of vote are affected by the individuals' aversion to the opposite ethnicity and the relative size of ethnicities. Analyses show that those relatively more averse to mixing with others who are different to themselves have a lower propensity to vote and are less likely to construe voting as a civic duty when they belong to the minority group.


  • civic duty; heterogeneity; social capital; social fractionalisation; turnout.