The Embarrassment of Riches? A Meta-Analysis of Individual Level Research on Voter Turnout

Kaat Smets, Carolien van Ham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Voter turnout has puzzled political scientists ever since Anthony Downs postulated the paradox of voting. Despite decades of research aiming to understand what drives citizens to the polls, the jury is still out on what the foundations of micro-level turnout are. This paper aims to provide a modest yet important contribution by taking a step back and summarizing where we stand and what we know. To this end, we review 90 empirical studies of individual level voter turnout in national elections published in ten top-journals during the past decade (2000–2010). Through a meta-analysis of the results reported in these studies, this paper identifies those factors that are consistently linked to individual level turnout.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344–359
JournalElectoral Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Individual-level turnout
  • Review
  • Meta-analysis

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