This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at

Sarah Birch

Full Participation: A Comparative Study of Compulsory Voting

Full Participation: A Comparative Study of Compulsory Voting

Full Participation: A Comparative Study of Compulsory Voting
Sarah Birch

ISBN: 978-92-808-1165-0
192 pages; cloth; US$83.00
ISBN: 978-92-808-1166-7
192 pages; paper; US$32.00
January 2009

Table of Contents

Sample Chapter

Full Participation is the first book-length study of compulsory voting to be published in the English language. About a quarter of all democracies in the contemporary world legally oblige their citizens to vote, making this an important aspect of electoral systems in many settings. Moreover, numerous commentators and policy-makers in voluntary voting states are coming to see mandatory attendance at the polls as an attractive option in the context of declining turnout. Yet we know relatively little about this practice beyond its effects on rates of electoral participation.

There has been a dearth of systematic examination of the way in which compulsory voting shapes attitudes, behaviour and outcomes of the political process. This book seeks to fill that gap by providing a comprehensive description, analysis and evaluation of compulsory voting as it is practiced throughout the world. Specifically, the study systematically examines the history of the institution, the normative arguments for and against it, and the influence it has on a range of political phenomena. These include electoral campaigns, political attitudes, electoral integrity and legitimacy, policy outcomes, and turnout. The book also considers the feasibility of introducing compulsory voting in a contemporary democracy, as well as variations on the institution designed to broaden its appeal.

Full Participation will be of interest to a wide range of readers, from ordinary citizens who take an interest in public affairs to political commentators, policy-makers and academic researchers.

Sarah Birch is Reader in Politics at the University of Essex, UK.

Table of contents


Page last modified 2019.04.16.

UNU Press

Full Text Search

Powered by Google

Catalogue of Titles

UNU Press Catalogue 2010-2011 Download our 2010-2011 catalogue
(9 MB PDF)


United Nations University Press
Jingumae 5–53–70, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan

Tel: 03-3499-2811
Fax: 03-3406-7345

Home  •  About UNU  •  UNU Institutes  •  Events  •  Online Learning  •  Publications  •  Library