Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Schraufnagel, Scot

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


The research seeks to answer the question does civic engagement affect public health outcomes. Scholars have been theorizing and testing various ideas in this field for some time. Yet, much of the work is general in nature and does not look into a specific argument regarding a causal relationship between civic engagement and public health. A Cost of Voting Index (COVI) with state specific values is used as a measure of civic engagement in this study. The thesis draws from individual level survey data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with respondents from all 50 American states. This is complimented by an aggregate-level analysis, which uses data supplied by the American Health Rankings (AHR) group who assign a public health score for each of the 50 American States. Each method is used to test the effect the COVI has on public health outcomes. The results of the research show that the COVI, a proxy for competent civic engagement, helps to explain variance in public health outcomes. Most specifically the easier it is to vote in a specific state the better the overall health is in that state. The results hold up using both the individual and aggregate levels of analyses.


90 pages




Northern Illinois University

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