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Employment, Wages, and Voter Turnout

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  • Kerwin Kofi Charles
  • Melvin Stephens Jr.

Abstract

Using county-level data across several decades, and various OLS and TSLS models, we find that higher local wages and employment lower turnout in elections for governor, senator, US Congress and state House of Representatives, but have no effect on presidential turnout. We also find that the share of people voting in one election but not in another on the same ballot increases as local labor market conditions improve. We argue that these results are most consistent with information-based models of voting, and use individual level panel data to show that increased employment lowers media usage and political knowledge.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 111-43

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:4:p:111-43

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.4.111
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  1. Meltzer, Allan H & Vellrath, Marc, 1975. "The Effects of Economic Policies on Votes for the Presidency: Some Evidence from Recent Elections," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 781-98, December.
  2. Eric Brunner & Stephen L. Ross & Ebonya Washington, 2011. "Economics and Policy Preferences: Causal Evidence of the Impact of Economic Conditions on Support for Redistribution and Other Ballot Proposals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 888-906, August.
  3. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  4. Stigler, George J, 1975. "The Effects of Economic Policies on Votes for the Presidency: Some Evidence from Recent Elections: Comment," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 801-02, December.
  5. David Dreyer Lassen, 2004. "The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  6. Krueger, Alan B. & Mueller, Andreas I., 2008. "The Lot of the Unemployed: A Time Use Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 3490, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
  8. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "A Structural Model of Turnout and Voting in Multiple Elections," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-021, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Aug 2006.
  9. Dan Black & Kermit Daniel & Seth Sanders, 2002. "The Impact of Economic Conditions on Participation in Disability Programs: Evidence from the Coal Boom and Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 27-50, March.
  10. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  11. Kramer, Gerald H, 1975. "The Effects of Economic Policies on Votes for the Presidency: Some Evidence from Recent Elections: Comment," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 799-800, December.
  12. Coupe, Tom & Noury, Abdul G., 2004. "Choosing not to choose: on the link between information and abstention," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 261-265, August.
  13. Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Whither Political Economy? Theories, Facts and Issues," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2005.
  14. Acemoglu, Daron & Finkelstein, Amy & Notowidigdo, Matthew J., 2009. "Income and Health Spending: Evidence from Oil Price Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 7255, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
  16. Meltzer, Allan H & Vellrath, Marc, 1975. "The Effects of Economic Policies on Votes for the Presidency: Some Evidence from Recent Elections: Reply," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 803-05, December.
  17. Wolfers, Justin, 2002. "Are Voters Rational? Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections," Research Papers 1730, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  18. James M. Snyder, Jr. & David Strömberg, 2008. "Press Coverage and Political Accountability," NBER Working Papers 13878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "A Structural Model of Turnout and Voting in Multiple Elections, Fourth Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-025, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Aug 2007.
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Cited by:
  1. Chevalier, Arnaud & Doyle, Orla, 2012. "Schooling and Voter Turnout: Is there an American Exception?," IZA Discussion Papers 6539, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Campante, Filipe R. & Chor, Davin, 2011. ""The People Want the Fall of the Regime": Schooling, Political Protest, and the Economy," Working Paper Series rwp11-018, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Jørgen Juel Andersen & Jon H. Fiva & Gisle James Natvik, 2013. "Voting When the Stakes Are High," Working Papers 0017, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
  4. Roland Hodler & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2012. "The Effects of Voting Costs on the Democratic Process and Public Finances," Working papers 2012/02, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.

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