Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

This study examines the relationship between socioeconomic factors and voter turnout in South Korea. In particular, the determinants of the turnout in the 2012 and 2017 presidential elections in the Republic of Korea are analyzed by using the aggregated data in terms of municipal-level divisions. The findings partially support previous studies. The education level and the percentage of primary industry workers in the district have a significantly positive impact on turnout. Holding the other variables constant, as the proportion of the population over higher education in the district increases, voter turnout grows. Likewise, as the ratio of primary industry workers in the region becomes larger, voter turnout rises. However, income level is negatively associated with voter turnout when holding the other variables constant. As the property tax per capita in municipality increases, voter turnout decreases. This is because the elderly, who make up half of the low-income brackets, are more likely to go to the polls in South Korea.