Why do people abstain from the European Parliament elections? : an empirical test of second order theory, 1979-1999
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This dissertation examines why people abstained from the European Parliament (EP) elections in the period of 1979-1999. Making use of second order theory, I argue that attitudes toward the EP and support for European integration will influence voter turnout. Further, I claim that the impact of the perceived image of the EP on turnout has changed between 1984 and 1999. I test these propositions using Eurobarometer Survey Series from 1979 to 1999. The results reveal that after controlling for the contextual variables and the attitudinal and socio-demographic factors, expectations about the first elected EP influenced turnout in the 1979. The perceived image of the EP also shaped the decision to turn out in the EP elections between 1984 and 1999. These findings also show that as the authoritative powers of the EP increased between 1984 and 1999, the perceived image of the EP had a greater impact on turnout. Finally, the results suggest that support for European unification mattered for voters. More specifically, Europhiles were more likely to vote in the EP elections between 1979 and 1999.
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