Municipal Size, Administrative Structure and Election Turnout: Consequences of Municipal Reform for the Legitimisation of Political Decision-making Processes
In the political debate voices are repeatedly heard calling for municipal territories to be enlarged and to dispense with internal administrative sub-divisions of the municipal entities, hence realising the model of the so-called unitary municipality and not that of the federally conceived municipalities. The “costs“ in terms of the economic disadvantages of this centralised model are usually only mentioned in passing, not least due to the problems of quantifying these costs. This paper attempts such a quantification for one aspect of the economic disadvantages of larger and more centralised municipal entities, namely their negative effects on election turnouts. The results of the empirical investigations show that the theoretical suppositions are confirmed, demonstrating that (1.) the choice of the organisational form of municipal administrative entity affects turnout, and (2.) the unitary municipality form leads to a significantly lower election turnout than that found in federally organised types of municipality.