Political Behavior

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 199–213

Disenfranchisement Through Divorce? Estimating the Effect of Parental Absence on Voter Turnout

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11109-011-9188-3

Cite this article as:
Sances, M.W. Polit Behav (2013) 35: 199. doi:10.1007/s11109-011-9188-3


Does growing up without both parents decrease voter turnout? I extend and improve upon earlier answers to this question. First, I estimate the long-term effects on voter turnout via analysis of a nationally representative sample of adults. Second, I exploit the quasi-natural experiment of parental death to correct for non-random selection into parental absence. Contrary to previous research, I find no evidence that growing up in an absent-parent household effects white voter turnout. I also present evidence suggesting the negative effects are limited to black voters.


Political socialization Turnout Inequality 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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