Research Insights: Are Young Latin American Voters Politically Engaged?

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Aug 2021
Data on political engagement of newly eligible young voters in 34 countries during 2004-2016 indicate that voting eligibility is associated with higher political engagement, casting doubt on the view that voters are rationally ignorant. Voting eligibility is associated with higher political interest, more discussion of political issues and attendance of political meetings, and more political knowledge. These effects are stronger in countries with enforced mandatory voting. The increase in political engagement is larger closer to the prior election, and it is driven by the engagement of eligible voters, implying that young voters acquire political information in anticipation of elections rather than ex post.