Measuring the Effects of Voter Confidence on Political Participation: An Application to the 2006 Mexican Election

Specific Elections: 
Working Paper No.: 
75
Date Published: 
06/01/2009
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Caltech
Ines Levin

Abstract
In this paper we study the causal effect of voter confidence on participation decisions in the 2006 Mexican Election. Previous research has shown that voter confidence was a relevant factor in explaining participation during the years of the PRI hegemony. An open question is whether this relationship is still significant after the democratic transition taking place in the years 1997-2000. Moreover, in the previous literature, this problem was studied in a regression framework. In this article we argue that, since voter confidence and participation decisions are affected by similar covariates, a regression approach may lead to results which are too model dependent, and do not account for the heterogeneity of effects across voters. To solve this problem, we use matching methods, and find that voter confidence has considerable effects on participation decisions, but substantially different in magnitude from those found using the usual regression approach.

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