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Economic Voting And Electoral Behavior: How Do Individual, Local, And National Factors Affect The Partisan Choice?

  • Andrew Leigh

What impact do income and other demographic factors have on a voter's partisan choice? Using post-election surveys of 14,000 voters in 10 Australian elections between 1966 and 2001, I explore the impact that individual, local, and national factors have on voters' decisions. In these 10 elections, the poor, foreign-born, younger voters, voters born since 1950, men, and those who are unmarried are more likely to be left-wing. Over the past 35 years, the partisan gap between men and women has closed, but the partisan gap has widened on three dimensions: between young and old; between rich and poor; and between native-born and foreign-born. At a neighborhood level, I find that, controlling for a respondent's own characteristics, and instrumenting for neighborhood characteristics, voters who live in richer neighborhoods are more likely to be right-wing, while those in more ethnically diverse or unequal neighborhoods are more likely to be left-wing. Controlling for incumbency, macroeconomic factors do not seem to affect partisan preferences - Australian voters apparently regard both major parties as equally capable of governing in booms and busts. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Economics & Politics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2005)
Issue (Month): (07)
Pages: 265-296

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:17:y:2005:i::p:265-296
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  1. Andrew Leigh, 2004. "Deriving Long-Run Inequality Series from Tax Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 476, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Dustmann, Christian & Preston, Ian, 1998. "Attitudes to Ethnic Minorities, Ethnic Context and Location Decisions," CEPR Discussion Papers 1942, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Cameron, L. & Crosby, M., 1999. "It's the Economy Stupid?," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 699, The University of Melbourne.
  4. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
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