Voting in the rain – the impact of rain on participation in open-air assemblies

Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle; Gerber, Marlène (2019). Voting in the rain – the impact of rain on participation in open-air assemblies. Local Government Studies, 46(3), pp. 414-435. Routledge 10.1080/03003930.2019.1644319

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The analysis of how weather conditions influence participation at the ballot and whether bad weather influences ballot decisions has recently gained momentum. Because most of these studies have focused on ballot votes, very little is known about the influence of rain on open-air citizen assemblies. In the effort to fill this gap, this paper analyses the influence of rain on participation in the Landsgemeinde - the main decision-making body of two Swiss cantons, wherein citizens meet on the main square in order to debate and decide bindingly on political matters of all sorts. We rely on a survey with an in-built conjoint experiment that presents citizens with several hypothetical Landsgemeinde situations. In order to reveal causal mechanisms, we expose survey participants to a randomly varied combination of weather and other conditions such as outcome favorability, the expected closeness of the vote and the company available during the event. Drawing from the literature on political mobilization, we find that rain not only decreases overall participation but it also lowers participation when votes are expected to be uncontested and for individuals who do not primarily attend the Landsgemeinde for political reasons. However, there is one exception: if voters are expected to meet friends, rain does no longer decrease participation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Stadelmann, Isabelle, Gerber, Marlène


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science








Isabelle Stadelmann

Date Deposited:

28 Nov 2019 10:56

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:32

Publisher DOI:





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