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Selfish and Prospective. Theory and Evidence of Pocketbook Voting

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  • Mikael Elinder
  • Henrik Jordahl
  • Panu Poutvaara

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Helsinki)

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 Aboa Centre for Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 40.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tkk:dpaper:dp40

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Keywords: elections; economic voting; pocketbook voting; selfinterest; prospective voting; retrospective voting; child care;

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  1. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000283, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
  6. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2003. "Cluster-Sample Methods in Applied Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 133-138, May.
  8. Jordahl, H., 2001. "An Economic Analysis of Voting in Sweden," Papers 2001:18, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  9. Dahlberg, M. & Johansson, E., 1999. "On the Vote Purchasing Behavior of Incumbent Governments," Papers 1999:24, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  10. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  11. 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.
  12. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  13. Henrik Jordahl, 2006. "An economic analysis of voting in Sweden," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 251-265, June.
  14. 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.
  15. Andrew Leigh, 2008. "Bringing Home the Bacon: An empirical analysis of the extent and effects of pork-barreling in Australian politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 580, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  16. Hibbs Jr., Douglas A., 2004. "Voting and the Macroeconomy," Working Papers in Economics 144, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 05 Oct 2004.
  17. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 11832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Mörk, Eva & Sjögren, Anna & Svaleryd, Helena, 2009. "Childcare Costs and the Demand for Children – Evidence from a Nationwide Reform," Working Paper Series 782, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 20 Sep 2010.
  2. Mörk, Eva & Sjögren, Anna & Svalelryd, Helena, 2008. "Cheaper child care, more children," Working Paper Series 2008:29, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  3. 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.
  4. Libman, Alexander, 2011. "Words or deeds – what matters? Experience of recentralization in Russian security agencies," MPRA Paper 29197, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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