The Less, the Merrier? Cohort Size, Welfare State Regimes, and Inequalities in Voter Turnout across Societies

Leo Azzollini , University of Oxford - Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science
Francesco Billari, Bocconi University
Gøsta Esping-Andersen, Bocconi University

Does cohort size influence voter turnout, and if so under which conditions? Focusing on the role of social stratification, we develop the Easterlin Hypothesis linking relative cohort size to political engagement. Our theoretical framework integrates Easterlin’s relative income mechanism and Ryder’s cohort socialization with Bourdieu’s theory of capital. We test this framework by examining competing hypotheses on the differential impact of Relative Cohort Size on voter turnout across welfare state regimes by fitting multilevel models to European Social Survey data for 26 countries, spanning the 2002-2016 period. Empirical results suggest that members of large cohorts are less likely to vote if they are upwardly mobile. However, this effect is nullified in regimes that promote more equality of life chances through education.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality