The Ex-Factor: Examining the Gendered Effect of Divorce on Voter Turnout


The absence of a gendered analysis of the effect of marriage on voting is surprising given researchers’ cognizance of the heterogeneous effects of marriage on a range of other social outcomes. In this paper, we shed new light on spousal dependency by studying the gendered effect of marital disruption, in the form of divorce, on voter turnout. First, drawing on Swedish populationwide data, we use the differential timing of divorces in relation to general elections to generate more credible estimates of the causal effect of divorce on turnout. Second, although we find that both sexes are adversely affected by divorce, we show that the effect is much more pronounced for men. Specifically, the long-term effect is almost twice as large for men. Finally, we use these data to show that the gendered effect of divorce is mainly driven by asymmetrical spousal mobilization due to higher levels of turnout among women.

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License CC BY
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 130 - Comparative