Comparative Democracy Seminar Series: "Compulsory Voting and Income Inequality"


Thursday, April 30, 2015, 4:10pm


Harvard Kennedy School, Ash Center, 124 Mount Auburn St., Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

About the Event:
What difference does it make if more, or fewer, people vote? What difference would it make if the state made people vote? These questions are central both to normative debates about the rights and duties of citizens in a democracy and to contemporary policy debates in a variety of countries over what actions states should take to encourage electoral participation. In this seminar, Professor John Carey will address the phenomenon of compulsory voting and the legal requirements that compel citizens to vote in elections. Specifically, he will focus on a rare case of abolishing compulsory voting in Venezuela where not forcing people to vote yielded a more unequal distribution of income.

About the Speaker:
John M. Carey is the John Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences and the chair of the Government Department at Dartmouth College. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the author or co-author of over 75 academic articles and 5 books, including Legislative Voting & Accountability (Cambridge UP 2009) and Presidents & Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (Cambridge UP 1992). His research focuses on the design of constitutions and electoral systems, and on legislative politics. He has consulted on electoral system reform in Nepal, Afghanistan, Jordan, Tunisia, Yemen, South Sudan, Israel, Mexico, and the Philippines. Research, datasets, and citations to published work are available on his website at: