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Using the Error in Pre-Election Polls to Test for the Presence of Pork

Listed author(s):
  • McIntosh Craig

    ()

    (University of California, San Diego)

  • Allen Jacob

    ()

    (University of California, San Diego)

Registered author(s):

    Polls are used by politicians, voters, and businesspeople alike to form expectations over political outcomes. In an electoral system with pork' at the national level, local economic prospects will be a direct function of political support. Because every poll comes with its margin of error, we can exploit the error in sub-national polls to test for whether forward-looking investment in the economy adjusts to shocks in local political behavior. The covariance between the strength of this adjustment and local-level characteristics allows us to identify the locations in which strong pork' contracts exist. To illustrate the technique, we provide a theoretical foundation and an empirical exercise using data on Ugandan micro-entrepreneurs during the 2001 presidential election. We find evidence that investor behavior responds in a small but significant way to surprises in electoral support, and this responsiveness is strongest in core' electoral districts.

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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 1-37

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:8
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    1. Erik Snowberg & Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2007. "Partisan Impacts on the Economy: Evidence from Prediction Markets and Close Elections," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 807-829.
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