51st Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "New Challenges for European Regions and Urban Areas in a Globalised World", 30 August - 3 September 2011, Barcelona, Spain
The paper investigates the effect of local electoral rules on the political participation of the residents, as reflected in voter turnout. It focuses on Italy, where municipal voting schemes are differentiated by the size of the city: a single ballot system applies to municipalities with less than 15,000 inhabitants, while a dual ballot system is in place above that threshold. By exploiting this discontinuity, the paper finds that the dual ballot increases political participation. The magnitude of the effect is estimated at between 1 and 3 percentage points.