Fiscal Conservatism in a New Democracy: 'Sophisticated' versus 'Naïve' Voters
AbstractSeveral authors claim that voters in new democracies reward deficits at the polls and this fact is due to a lack of 'voter sophistication'. We test this claim for gubernatorial elections in Brazil, an important case study since it is the fourth most populous democracy in the world, displays a high variance in economic and social characteristics across states, and effectively imposes mandatory voting. Our evidence shows that voters are fiscally conservative, that is, they reward lower deficits, which is in contradiction to the literature. We do find that, when we use state income per capita, education and income inequality as proxies for 'voter sophistication', 'naïve' voters do not reward low deficits as opposed to 'sophisticated' voters, and education is the key element for this distinction. We propose that education rather than the youth of the democracy, is the key element for assessing voter 'sophistication'.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6931.
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- Arvate, Paulo Roberto & Avelino, George & Tavares, José, 2009. "Fiscal conservatism in a new democracy: "Sophisticated" versus "naïve" voters," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 125-127, February.
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
- H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-02-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2009-02-28 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-MAC-2009-02-28 (Macroeconomics)
- NEP-POL-2009-02-28 (Positive Political Economics)
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