The Impact of Procedural Information Costs on Voting: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Chile
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This paper uses a natural experiment to identify the effect of a procedural information cost on the electoral registration of young first-time voters. We exploit the fact that information about when the minimum age eligibility requirement is due, either at registration or election-day, is only meaningful for those turning 18 after registration closing day. Using a national dataset on Chilean registration over four elections, we provide evidence of a sharp discontinuity in the registration rate of those youngsters turning 18 at closing date. The effect is both sizable and robust, persists over time, and is similar across income groups.
KeywordsRegistration costs Information acquisition Political participation Voting habits
The authors are grateful to Loreto Cox, Eduardo Engel and Alfredo Joignant for their helpful comments and suggestions. We thank Pedro Cayul for outstanding research assistance. Corvalan acknowledges financial support from the Millennium Institute for Research in Market Imperfections and Public Policy, ICM IS130002, Chile. We thank Florencia Torche for sharing birth rates data with us.
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