UCD Centre for Economic Research Working Paper Series No. WP06/11
University College Dublin, UCD School of Economics, Dublin
Health issues are an integral part of the political agenda in Ireland. Yet no study to date has examined the direct impact of health concerns on political outcomes. This study investigates the impact of health, both physical and psychological, and perceptions of the health service on voter turnout in Ireland using the European Social Survey in 2005. The results show that individuals with poor subjective health are significantly less likely to vote in a General Election. Dissatisfaction with the health service is also associated with a lower probability of voting. However these effects interact: those with poor health and who are dissatisfied with the health service are more likely to vote. Psychological well-being has no effect on voter turnout. The health effects identified in this study are large. Therefore, given the PR electoral system in Ireland, small changes in voter turnout could have dramatic consequences for electoral outcomes.