Research

Competing for New Votes: Mobilization of Women in the Wake of Democratization

How are newly enfranchised groups mobilized? I theorize that new electorates are `harder to mobilize', which incentivizes politicians to expend resources on the mobilization of new electorates in fewer, more geographically concentrated, localities. This results in a greater within-country variation in turnout of new electorates and reduces the difference between turnout of new and established electorates in places with the strongest incentives to engage in any mobilization efforts. In testing this argument, I analyse fine-grained sex-separated election data after the introduction of women's suffrage in New Zealand, Norway, Finland and Austria. I find support for my argument. In systems with single member districts, the gender turnout gap closes in the most competitive districts that ignite the strongest incentives to mobilize. In systems with proportional representation, the gender turnout gap closes in the most uncompetitive within-district localities that ignite the strongest incentives to mobilize. To the extent that successful representation of newly enfranchised groups hinges upon their successful mobilization, these findings have important implications for the representation of historically marginalized groups.

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