A Comparative Study of the Individual and Contextual Determinants of Invalid Votes in Europe


Previous literature on political participation and voting behavior has often overlooked invalid votes as an expressive and rational act. Few comparative studies seeking to understand why some voters intentionally spoil their ballots, on the one hand, commonly employ aggregate data to empirically analyze their theoretical expectations. Even fewer studies employing individual-level data, on the other hand, only look into countries with high invalid vote shares, and with varied political and institutional characteristics. Based on an article investigating individual- and contextual-level determinants of casting an invalid vote in multiparty European democracies, this case study demonstrates the added value of employing survey data to examine individual behavior, ruling out alternative explanations via operational decisions, modeling distinct choices available to individuals using multinomial logistic regression, taking account of individual and contextual heterogeneity among examined cases, positing and testing interactive hypotheses, and investigating social and political phenomena from a comparative perspective.

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