Engaging citizens: The role of power-sharing institutions

Miki Kittilson, Leslie Schwindt-Bayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Drawing on established theories of comparative political institutions, we argue that democratic institutions carry important messages that influence mass attitudes and behaviors. Power-sharing political institutions signal to citizens that inclusiveness is an important principle of a countrys democracy and can encourage citizens to participate in politics. Applying multilevel modeling to data from the World Values Survey, we test whether democratic institutions influence political engagement in 34 countries. Further, we examine whether underrepresented groups, specifically women, are differentially affected by the use of power-sharing institutions such that they are more engaged in politics than women in countries with power-concentrating institutions. We find that disproportional electoral rules dampen engagement overall and that gender gaps in political engagement tend to be smaller in more proportional electoral systems, even after controlling for a host of other factors. Power-sharing institutions can be critical for explaining gender differences in political engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)990-1002
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Engaging citizens: The role of power-sharing institutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this