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Economic Voting and Electoral Behaviour: How do Individual, Local and National Factors Affect the Partisan Choice?

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  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

What impact do income and other demographic factors have on a voter’s partisan choice? Using post-election surveys of 14,000 voters in ten Australian elections between 1966 and 2001, I explore the impact that individual, local and national factors have on voters’ decisions. In these ten elections, the poor, foreign-born, younger voters, voters born since 1950, men, and those who are unmarried are more likely to be left-wing. Over the past 35 years, the partisan gap between men and women has closed, but the partisan gap has widened on three dimensions: between young and old; between rich and poor; and between native-born and foreign-born. At a neighbourhood level, I find that, controlling for a respondent’s own characteristics, and instrumenting for neighbourhood characteristics, voters who live in richer neighbourhoods are more likely to be right-wing, while those in more ethnically diverse or unequal neighbourhoods are more likely to be left-wing. Controlling for incumbency, macroeconomic factors do not seem to affect partisan preferences – Australian voters apparently regard both major parties as equally capable of governing in booms and busts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 489.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:489

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Keywords: elections; voting; partisanship; income; inequality; neighbourhood effects;

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  1. Dustmann, Christian & Preston, Ian, 2001. "Attitudes to Ethic Minorities, Ethnic Context and Location Decisions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 353-73, April.
  2. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Deriving Long-Run Inequality Series from Tax Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(s1), pages S58-S70, 08.
  3. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
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Cited by:
  1. Eric J. Brunner & Stephen L. Ross & Ebonya L. Washington, 2011. "Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?," NBER Working Papers 16835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric Brunner & Stephen L. Ross & Ebonya Washington, 2008. "Economics and Ideology: Causal Evidence of the Impact of Economic Conditions on Support for Redistribution and Other Ballot Proposals," Working papers, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics 2008-18, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2008.
  3. Chang Wen-Chun, 2008. "Toward Independence or Unification?," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 1-32, January.
  4. Andrew Leigh, 2008. "Bringing home the bacon: an empirical analysis of the extent and effects of pork-barreling in Australian politics," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 279-299, October.
  5. Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2008. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 14268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Elinder, Mikael, 2010. "Local economies and general elections: The influence of municipal and regional economic conditions on voting in Sweden 1985-2002," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 279-292, June.
  7. Andrew Leigh, 2006. "How Do Unionists Vote? Estimating the Causal Impact of Union Membership on Voting Behaviour from 1966 to 2004," CEPR Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University 516, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  8. Magnus Söderberg & Makoto Tanaka, 2012. "Spatial price homogeneity as a mechanism to reduce the threat of regulatory intervention in locally monopolistic sectors," Working Papers hal-00659458, HAL.
  9. Amy King & Andrew Leigh, 2010. "Bias at the Ballot Box? Testing Whether Candidates' Gender Affects Their Vote," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(2), pages 324-343.

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