Working Paper, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department 533
This paper explores the link between compulsory voting and income distribution using a cross-section of countries around the world. Our empirical cross-country analysis for 91 countries during the period 1960-2000 shows that compulsory voting, when enforced strictly, improves income distribution, as measured by the Gini coefficient and the bottom income quintiles of the population. Our findings are robust to changes and additions to our benchmark specification. Since poorer countries suffer from relatively greater income inequality, it might make sense to promote such voting schemes in developing regions such as Latin America. This proposal assumes that bureaucratic costs related with design and implementation are not excessive.