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

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  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

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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  • Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Economic Voting And Electoral Behavior: How Do Individual, Local, And National Factors Affect The Partisan Choice?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 265-296, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:17:y:2005:i::p:265-296
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cameron, L. & Crosby, M., 1999. "It's the Economy Stupid?," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 699, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    3. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Deriving Long-Run Inequality Series from Tax Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(s1), pages 58-70, August.
    4. Dustmann, Christian & Preston, Ian, 2001. "Attitudes to Ethic Minorities, Ethnic Context and Location Decisions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 353-373, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brunner, Eric & Ross, Stephen L. & Washington, Ebonya, 2008. "Economics and Ideology: Causal Evidence of the Impact of Economic Conditions on Support for Redistribution and Other Ballot Proposal," Working Papers 50, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    2. Elinder, Mikael, 2010. "Local economies and general elections: The influence of municipal and regional economic conditions on voting in Sweden 1985-2002," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 279-292, June.
    3. Andrew Leigh, 2006. "How Do Unionists Vote? Estimating the Causal Impact of Union Membership on Voting Behaviour from 1966 to 2004," CEPR Discussion Papers 516, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    4. Chang Wen-Chun, 2008. "Toward Independence or Unification?," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 1-32, January.
    5. Amy King & Andrew Leigh, 2010. "Bias at the Ballot Box? Testing Whether Candidates' Gender Affects Their Vote," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(2), pages 324-343.
    6. Mohamed Amara & AbdelRahmen El Lahga, 2016. "Tunisian constituent assembly elections: how does spatial proximity matter?," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 65-88, January.
    7. Artés, Joaquín, 2014. "The rain in Spain: Turnout and partisan voting in Spanish elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 126-141.
    8. Andrew Leigh, 2008. "Bringing home the bacon: an empirical analysis of the extent and effects of pork-barreling in Australian politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 279-299, October.
    9. Eric Brunner & Stephen L. Ross & Ebonya Washington, 2013. "Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 53-76, May.
    10. Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 157-179, February.
    11. Magnus Söderberg & Makoto Tanaka, 2012. "Spatial price homogeneity as a mechanism to reduce the threat of regulatory intervention in locally monopolistic sectors," Working Papers hal-00659458, HAL.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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