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Selfish and Prospective: Theory and Evidence of Pocketbook Voting

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  • Elinder, Mikael

    ()
    (Uppsala University)

  • Jordahl, Henrik

    ()
    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

  • Poutvaara, Panu

    ()
    (University of Munich)

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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3763.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3763

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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. Andrew Leigh, 2008. "Bringing Home the Bacon: An empirical analysis of the extent and effects of pork-barreling in Australian politics," CEPR Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University 580, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
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  4. Jordahl, H., 2001. "An Economic Analysis of Voting in Sweden," Papers, Uppsala - Working Paper Series 2001:18, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  5. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, 08.
  6. Dahlberg, M. & Johansson, E., 1999. "On the Vote Purchasing Behavior of Incumbent Governments," Papers, Uppsala - Working Paper Series 1999:24, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  7. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews, www.najecon.org 122247000000000306, www.najecon.org.
  8. Fair, Ray C, 1978. "The Effect of Economic Events on Votes for President," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(2), pages 159-73, May.
  9. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  10. Henrik Jordahl, 2006. "An economic analysis of voting in Sweden," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 251-265, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Hibbs Jr., Douglas A., 2004. "Voting and the Macroeconomy," Working Papers in Economics, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics 144, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 05 Oct 2004.
  13. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  14. 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, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 917-961, August.
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  16. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
  17. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2009. "Government transfers and political support," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 28519, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Eva Mörk & Anna Sjögren & Helena Svaleryd, 2009. "Cheaper Child Care, More Children," Working Papers 2009/2, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  3. Dawes, Christopher T. & Johannesson, Magnus & Lindqvist, Erik & Loewen, Peter & Östling, Robert & Bonde, Marianne & Priks, Frida, 2012. "Generosity and Political Preferences," Working Paper Series, Research Institute of Industrial Economics 941, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. 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.
  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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