Policy-based Abstention: An Application to Brazil’s 2002 Presidential Election

  •  Gabriel Katz    


This paper implements a unified model of individual abstention and vote choice, applying it to analyze policy-based alienation and indifference in Brazil’s historical 2002 presidential election. The results indicate that both alienation and indifference have a negative impact on turnout, with indifference contributing slightly more to voter abstention. Also, the determinants of alienation and indifference differ considerably, the former being determined by structural factors such as voters’ information and perceived efficacy levels, while the latter was related to short-term aspects such as parties’ mobilization efforts. More importantly, the evidence shows that while alienation and indifference are strongly influenced by attitudinal and protest variables, they are also affected by citizens’ evaluation of candidates’ ideological locations. The main conclusion is that abstention in Brazil’s 2002 election had a policy-driven component and that spatial considerations played a substantive role in citizens’ electoral behavior, a fact that has been largely overlooked in previous research on the determinants of abstention in Latin America.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • Issn(Print): 1918-7173
  • Issn(Onlne): 1918-7181
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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