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Aggregation Reversals and the Social Formation of Beliefs

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Bruce Sacerdote

Abstract

In the past two elections, richer people were more likely to vote Republican while richer states were more likely to vote Democratic. This switch is an aggregation reversal, where an individual relationship, like income and Republicanism, is reversed at some level of aggregation. Aggregation reversals can occur when an independent variable impacts an outcome both directly and indirectly through a correlation with beliefs. For example, income increases the desire for low taxes but decreases belief in Republican social causes. If beliefs are learned socially, then aggregation can magnify the connection between the independent variable and beliefs, which can cause an aggregation reversal. We estimate the model's parameters for three examples of aggregation reversals, and show with these parameters that the model predicts the observed reversals.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13031.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13031

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  1. Matthew A. Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Media, Education, and anti-Americanism in the Muslim World," Microeconomics 0402005, EconWPA.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2044, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Bruce Sacerdote & Edward L. Glaeser, 2001. "Education and Religion," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1913, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1993. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 612-43, August.
  5. Kevin Murphy & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Persuasion in Politics," NBER Working Papers 10248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 93-125, February.
  7. Barberis, Nicholas & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1998. "A model of investor sentiment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 307-343, September.
  8. Jose A. Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2003. "Overconfidence and Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1183-1219, December.
  9. Edward Glaeser & Giacomo Ponzetto & Andrei Shleifer, 2006. "Why Does Democracy Need Education?," NBER Working Papers 12128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Rafael Di Tella & Sebastian Galiani & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2007. "The Formation of Beliefs: Evidence from the Allocation of Land Titles to Squatters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 209-241, 02.
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Cited by:
  1. 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 2008-18, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2008.
  2. Joan Costa-i-Font & Marin Gemmill & Gloria Rubert, 2009. "Re-visiting the health care luxury good hypothesis: aggregation, precision, and publication biases?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25303, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Brian Knight & Nathan Schiff, 2010. "Momentum and Social Learning in Presidential Primaries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1110 - 1150.

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