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Does incarceration reduce voting? Evidence about the political consequences of spending time in prison

Gerber, Alan S., Huber, Gregory A., Meredith, Marc, Biggers, Daniel R. and Hendry, David J. (2017) Does incarceration reduce voting? Evidence about the political consequences of spending time in prison. Journal of Politics, 79 (4). pp. 1130-1146. ISSN 0022-3816

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Identification Number: 10.1086/692670

Abstract

The rise in mass incarceration provides a growing impetus to understand the effect that interactions with the criminal justice system have on political participation. While a substantial body of prior research studies the political consequences of criminal disenfranchisement, less work examines why eligible ex-felons vote at very low rates. We use administrative data on voting and interactions with the criminal justice system from Pennsylvania to assess whether the association between incarceration and reduced voting is causal. Using administrative records that reduce the possibility of measurement error, we employ several different research designs to investigate the possibility that the observed negative correlation between incarceration and voting might result from differences across individuals that both lead to incarceration and low participation. As this selection bias issue is addressed, we find that the estimated effect of serving time in prison on voting falls dramatically and for some research designs vanishes entirely.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/toc/jop/current
Additional Information: © 2017 Southern Political Science Association
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > Methodology
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2017 08:34
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 02:34
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/85015

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