Pacek, A.C., Pop-Eleches and Tucker, A.J., 'Disenchanted or Discerning: Voter Turnout in Post-Communist Countries', The Journal of Politics, Vol.71, No.2 (2009), 473-491
Voter turnout in post-communist countries has exhibited wildly fluctuating patterns against a backdrop of economic and political volatility. In this article, we consider three explanations for this variation: a ‘‘depressing disenchantment'' hypothesis that predicts voters are less likely to vote in elections when political and economic conditions are worse; a ‘‘motivating disenchantment'' hypothesis that predicts voters are more likely to vote in elections when conditions are worse; and a ‘‘stakes'' based hypothesis that predicts voters are more likely to vote in more important elections. Using an original aggregate-level cross-national time-series data set of 137 presidential and parliamentary elections in 19 post-communist countries, we find much stronger empirical support for the stakes-based approach to explaining variation in voter turnout than we do for either of the disenchantment-based approaches. Our findings offer a theoretically integrated picture of voter participation in the post-communist world, and, more broadly, contribute new insights to the general literature on turnout.