Does Voting at a Younger Age Have an Effect on Satisfaction with Democracy and Political Trust? Evidence from Latin America

  • Constanza Sanhueza PetrarcaEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Young People and Politics book series (PSYPP)


This chapter investigates whether lowering the minimum voting age to 16 has a positive effect on voters’ satisfaction with democracy and political trust. In particular, it examines if voters that were enfranchised at a younger age show more positive political attitudes. In Latin America, five countries have lowered the voting age to 16. Cuba, Nicaragua and Brazil have been the pioneers in the region and worldwide in the inclusion of under 18-year-old voters, while Ecuador and Argentina changed their electoral laws following a recent global trend in debating the enfranchisement of young voters. After examining the political and social contexts in which these electoral laws were adopted in these five countries, the chapter analyzes whether voters who could Vote at 16 show more positive evaluations of democracy and trust in the national government, parliament and political parties compared to voters that were enfranchised at an older age. The evidence shows that early enfranchisement is marginally associated with satisfaction with democracy and strongly associated with trust in political parliaments and parties.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WZB Berlin Social Science CenterBerlinGermany

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