Sick leave from work and the voting booth? A register-based study on health and turnout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies show that people with poor health have a lower propensity to vote. With individual-level register data on sickness allowance episodes and voting in three Finnish elections, we address the following questions: (1) What degree of sickness allowance days negatively influences turnout? (2) Are sickness absences on election day more harmful than absences that occur before the elections? (3) What is the effect of cumulative sickness allowance spells before the elections over a period of several years? We use a threefold categorisation approach, which differentiates between immediate, short-term and long-term health effects on voting. The results show that multiple sickness allowance spells over several years are more strongly connected to turnout than health problems experienced only in the year prior to the elections. Falling ill at the time of the elections had no consistent additional negative relationship with voting. We suggest that the demobilising effects of immediate health problems are associated with tangible factors, while long-term effects are related to lowered levels of political efficacy, interest and social connectedness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Politica
Volume53
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)429-447
Number of pages19
ISSN0001-6810
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 517 Political science
  • Health
  • Turnout
  • Voting
  • Finland
  • VOTER TURNOUT
  • POLITICAL-PARTICIPATION
  • DISABILITY PENSION
  • PROSPECTIVE COHORT
  • WHITEHALL-II
  • ABSENCE
  • PREDICTORS
  • MORTALITY
  • EMPLOYEES
  • PEOPLE

Cite this

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title = "Sick leave from work and the voting booth?: A register-based study on health and turnout",
abstract = "Previous studies show that people with poor health have a lower propensity to vote. With individual-level register data on sickness allowance episodes and voting in three Finnish elections, we address the following questions: (1) What degree of sickness allowance days negatively influences turnout? (2) Are sickness absences on election day more harmful than absences that occur before the elections? (3) What is the effect of cumulative sickness allowance spells before the elections over a period of several years? We use a threefold categorisation approach, which differentiates between immediate, short-term and long-term health effects on voting. The results show that multiple sickness allowance spells over several years are more strongly connected to turnout than health problems experienced only in the year prior to the elections. Falling ill at the time of the elections had no consistent additional negative relationship with voting. We suggest that the demobilising effects of immediate health problems are associated with tangible factors, while long-term effects are related to lowered levels of political efficacy, interest and social connectedness.",
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author = "Mattila, {Vesa Mikko} and Wass, {Hanna Maria} and Lahtinen, {Hannu Antero} and Martikainen, {Pekka Tapani}",
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Sick leave from work and the voting booth? A register-based study on health and turnout. / Mattila, Vesa Mikko; Wass, Hanna Maria; Lahtinen, Hannu Antero; Martikainen, Pekka Tapani.

In: Acta Politica, Vol. 53, No. 3, 07.2018, p. 429-447.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Martikainen, Pekka Tapani

PY - 2018/7

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AB - Previous studies show that people with poor health have a lower propensity to vote. With individual-level register data on sickness allowance episodes and voting in three Finnish elections, we address the following questions: (1) What degree of sickness allowance days negatively influences turnout? (2) Are sickness absences on election day more harmful than absences that occur before the elections? (3) What is the effect of cumulative sickness allowance spells before the elections over a period of several years? We use a threefold categorisation approach, which differentiates between immediate, short-term and long-term health effects on voting. The results show that multiple sickness allowance spells over several years are more strongly connected to turnout than health problems experienced only in the year prior to the elections. Falling ill at the time of the elections had no consistent additional negative relationship with voting. We suggest that the demobilising effects of immediate health problems are associated with tangible factors, while long-term effects are related to lowered levels of political efficacy, interest and social connectedness.

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