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Selfish and Prospective: Theory and Evidence of Pocketbook Voting

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  • Mikael Elinder
  • Henrik Jordahl
  • Panu Poutvaara

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Abstract

We present and test a theory of prospective and retrospective pocketbook voting. Focusing on two large reforms in Sweden, we establish a causal chain from policies to sizeable individual gains and losses and then to voting. The Social Democrats proposed budget cuts affecting parents with young children before the 1994 election, but made generous promises to the same group before the 1998 election. Since parents with older children were largely unaffected we use a difference-in-differences strategy for identification. We find clear evidence of prospective pocketbook voting. Voters respond to campaign promises but not to the later implementation of the reforms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2489.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2489

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Keywords: elections; economic voting; pocketbook voting; self-interest; prospective voting; retrospective voting; child care;

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References

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  1. Angeletos, George-Marios & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," Scholarly Articles 4553009, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Ray C. Fair, 1976. "The Effects of Economic Events on Votes for President," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 418, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Steven D. Levitt & James M. Snyder, Jr., 1995. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jordahl, Henrik, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Voting in Sweden," Ratio Working Papers 16, The Ratio Institute.
  10. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2003. "Cluster-Sample Methods in Applied Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 133-138, May.
  11. Hibbs Jr., Douglas A., 2004. "Voting and the Macroeconomy," Working Papers in Economics 144, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 05 Oct 2004.
  12. Henrik Jordahl, 2006. "An economic analysis of voting in Sweden," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 251-265, June.
  13. Lena Edlund & Rohini Pande, 2002. "Why Have Women Become Left-Wing? The Political Gender Gap And The Decline In Marriage," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 917-961, August.
  14. Andrew Leigh, 2008. "Bringing home the bacon: an empirical analysis of the extent and effects of pork-barreling in Australian politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 279-299, October.
  15. Lundin, Daniela & Mörk, Eva & Öckert, Björn, 2008. "How far can reduced childcare prices push female labour supply?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 647-659, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Eva Mörk & Anna Sjögren & Helena Svaleryd, 2010. "Childcare Costs and the Demand for Children - Evidence from a Nationwide Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 3210, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2009. "Government Transfers and Political Support," NBER Working Papers 14702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eva Mörk & Anna Sjögren & Helena Svaleryd, 2009. "Cheaper Child Care, More Children," Working Papers 2009/2, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  4. Dawes, Christopher T. & Johannesson, Magnus & Lindqvist, Erik & Loewen, Peter & Östling, Robert & Bonde, Marianne & Priks, Frida, 2012. "Generosity and Political Preferences," Working Paper Series 941, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. Libman, Alexander, 2010. "Words or deeds - what matters? Experience of recentralization in Russian security agencies," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 148, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

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