Home » Uncategorized » Twice the trouble: Twinning, costs, benefits, and voting

Twice the trouble: Twinning, costs, benefits, and voting

Scholars have argued that becoming a parent impacts political behavior, including turnout. On the one hand, children could be a stabilizing factor in a voter’s life and increase self-interest in elections. On the other hand, it could make voting more costly. We have little causal evidence to support either claim. In this paper, we identify the effect on turnout of having an addition child conditional on the decision to become a parent. When parents have a child, Nature sometimes assigns additional children through twinning. We argue that conditional on age of parents and birth cohort this as-if randomly assigns an extra child to some parents. With a large dataset of family composition and validated turnout for Danish voters, we find, consistent with additional children increasing the cost of voting, that an additional child depresses turnout for boths parents. The effect is substantially more negative for mothers than for fathers. A placebo test shows that voting does not predict twinning in future parities.


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