CONWAY, Ark. (February 26,
2018) – In a political climate that relies increasingly on private donations, a
research paper by a Hendrix College professor and student provides a timely
exploration of how private political funding may affect voter turnout.
The article, “Do private
donations depress electoral turnout? An empirical investigation of voter
participation,” will be published in the April issue of Electoral Studies and currently appears online.
Dr. Kiril Kolev, James and
Emily Bost Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations, and
Anushah Jiwani ’17, a double major in International Relations and
English-Creative Writing, collaborated on the project over the course of the
2016-2017 academic year, examining election patterns in the United States and
114 other democratic countries.
“The idea for the paper
arose during discussions in the Hendrix Democracy Program, a student forum to explore
issues of governance,” Kolev said. “The support of the Hendrix Odyssey Program
has been essential in making the forum, as well as the more focused research
work that followed, possible.”
The researchers considered
the impact of three different mechanisms of the relationship between private
political funding and voter turnout, finding strong indications that banning
corporate donations from entities with ties to the government and limiting the
amount of money that can be given by private donors tends to get more voters to
“We have found that in
addition to limiting private donations, requiring candidates to reveal the
identity of their donors seems to boost voter participation: candidates’
transparency seems to increase voters’ trust,” Jiwani said. “Our research also
supports the existing arguments that link high voter turnout with a higher
standard of living, and the institutional frameworks of parliamentarism and
The analysis points out
nuances in the relationship between voter participation and particular types of
regulations. It also demonstrates that citizens are less likely to vote when
political finance is not restricted due to disillusionment.
A private liberal arts
college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as
one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That
Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and
rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous
college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been
affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.