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Rain, emotions and voting for the status quo

Author

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  • Meier, Armando N.
  • Schmid, Lukas
  • Stutzer, Alois

Abstract

Do emotions affect the decision between change and the status quo? We exploit exogenous variation in emotions caused by rain and analyze data on more than 870,000 municipal vote outcomes in Switzerland to address this question. The empirical tests are based on administrative ballot outcomes and individual postvote survey data. We find that rain decreases the share of votes for political change. Our robustness checks suggest that this finding is not driven by changes in the composition of the electorate and changes in information acquisition. In addition, we provide evidence that rain might have altered the outcome of several high-stake votes. We discuss the psychological mechanism and document that rain reduces the willingness to take risks, a pattern that is consistent with the observed reduction in the support for change.

Suggested Citation

  • Meier, Armando N. & Schmid, Lukas & Stutzer, Alois, 2019. "Rain, emotions and voting for the status quo," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 434-451.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:119:y:2019:i:c:p:434-451
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2019.07.014
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    Cited by:

    1. Nowakowski, Adam, 2021. "Do unhappy citizens vote for populism?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    2. Sascha O Becker & Thiemo Fetzer & Dennis Novy, 2017. "Who voted for Brexit? A comprehensive district-level analysis," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 32(92), pages 601-650.
    3. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Maennig, Wolfgang & Mueller, Steffen Q., 2022. "The generation gap in direct democracy: Age vs. cohort effects," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    4. Armando N. Meier, 2021. "Emotions and Risk Attitudes," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1118, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    5. Meier, Armando N. & Schmid, Lukas & Stutzer, Alois, 2019. "Rain, emotions and voting for the status quo," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 434-451.
    6. Marco Frank & David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2020. "Electoral Turnout During States of Emergency and Effects on Incumbent Vote Share," CREMA Working Paper Series 2020-10, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    7. Zimmermann, Severin & Stutzer, Alois, 2022. "The consequences of hosting asylum seekers for citizens’ policy preferences," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    8. Stutzer, Alois & Baltensperger, Michael & Meier, Armando N., 2019. "Overstrained citizens? The number of ballot propositions and the quality of the decision process in direct democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 483-500.
    9. Armando N. Meier, 2019. "Emotions, Risk Attitudes, and Patience," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1041, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Lind, Jo Thori, 2020. "Rainy day politics. An instrumental variables approach to the effect of parties on political outcomes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    11. Liao, Yanjun & Ruiz Junco, Pablo, 2022. "Extreme weather and the politics of climate change: A study of campaign finance and elections," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
    12. Hessami, Zohal & Resnjanskij, Sven, 2019. "Complex ballot propositions, individual voting behavior, and status quo bias," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 82-101.
    13. Samahita, Margaret & Holm, Håkan J., 2020. "Mining for Mood Effect in the Field," Working Papers 2020:2, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    14. Deole, Sumit S. & Huang, Yue, 2020. "Suffering and prejudice: Do negative emotions predict immigration concerns?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 644, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    15. Bellani, Luna & Ceolotto, Stefano & Elsner, Benjamin & Pestel, Nico, 2021. "Air Pollution Affects Decision-Making: Evidence from the Ballot Box," IZA Discussion Papers 14718, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Stutzer, Alois & Baltensperger, Michael & Meier, Armando N., 2018. "Overstrained Citizens?," Working papers 2018/25, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    17. Meier, Armando N. & Levav, Jonathan & Meier, Stephan, 2020. "Early Release and Recidivism," IZA Discussion Papers 13035, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Emotions; Voting; Status quo; Risk aversion; Rain; Direct democracy; Turnout;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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