Public Choice

, Volume 171, Issue 1–2, pp 99–117 | Cite as

The effect of a reduction in the opening hours of polling stations on turnout

  • Sebastian Garmann


In recent years, scholars and policymakers alike have discussed potential causes and consequences of low voter turnout. Election administration laws may provide means to encourage turnout that are of low cost and easily implementable. In this paper, I provide a policy evaluation of a change in an election administration law. Specifically, I estimate the causal effect of a reduction in the opening hours of polling stations on turnout. To this end, I make use of a policy change in a German state that cut the number of opening hours of polling stations. Using political units from an adjacent state with the same election dates and effectively the same election system as a control group in a difference-in-differences design, I find that reducing the opening hours of polling stations significantly reduces voter turnout.


Turnout Polling stations Difference-in-differences Policy evaluation Natural experiment 

JEL Classification

C21 C23 D71 D72 



I thank the editor and three anonymous reviewers for very helpful comments and suggestions.

Supplementary material

11127_2016_399_MOESM1_ESM.doc (84 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 84 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair for Public Finance and Economic PolicyUniversity of BochumBochumGermany

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