Why Did Young Norwegians Mobilize: External Events or Early Enfranchisement?

  • Guro Ødegård
  • Johannes BerghEmail author
  • Jo Saglie
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Young People and Politics book series (PSYPP)


Since the terrorist attacks in Norway in July 2011, there has been a general rise in political participation among young Norwegians. This was evident just a few weeks after the attack, when turnout among first-time voters (the age group 18–21) went up by 11 percentage points in the local elections (to 46%). In those September 2011 elections, the voting age was lowered from 18 to 16 in a selected group of 20 municipalities. Turnout was also quite high among 16- and 17-year olds (58%). This level of participation has remained stable among young voters in later elections. Relying on quantitative data on turnout by age, membership in political youth parties and qualitative interviews with first-time voters, the chapter discusses how three different mechanisms—life cycle, generational and period effects—may explain this mobilization. The authors find strong life-cycle effects which account for stable differences between age groups.



Earlier versions of this article were presented at the ECPR General Conference in Glasgow, September 2014, at the conference Democracy: A Citizen Perspective, Åbo, 27–28 May 2015, and at the conference Youth Political Participation: The Diverse Roads to Democracy, Montréal, 15–17 June 2016. We would like to thank the conference participants for valuable comments, and the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernization for funding.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Social ResearchOslo Metropolitan UniversityOsloNorway
  2. 2.Institute for Social ResearchOsloNorway

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