Determinants of electoral behavior
: a study using individual-level data

  • Joana Maria Trapela Marques Garcia (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Previous research on the impact of reforms to the Portuguese electoral system has assessed mechanical effects assuming that the behavior of individuals would remain the same. We improve on this state of affairs by using a rich dataset to study the impact of district magnitude on three relevant decisions made by individuals: the decision to vote or abstain, the decision to vote sincerely or not and the party choice decision. Then, we use our models to predict the effects of four alternative scenarios: uniform-size circles, a reduction of Members of Parliament to 180, a national circle and single-member circles. Besides making contributions to the understanding of how several individual and contextual-level variables shape the voting behavior of the Portuguese, we make four additional contributions in this study. Firstly, we show that the relationship between district magnitude and the probability of abstention is negative and shows diminishing returns. Secondly, we show that the impact of district magnitude on the probability of voting strategically is strikingly similar to its impact on the probability of abstaining. Thirdly, we show that district magnitude plays an important role in shaping the choice of party by individuals. Finally, by using the models estimated we quantify the impact of different types of redistricting on abstention, sincere voting and party choice.
Date of Award30 Oct 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMiguel Gouveia (Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Economia

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