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Party loyalty as habit formation

  • Ron Shachar

    (Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel 69978)

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    In most democracies, at least two out of any three individuals vote for the same party in sequential elections. This paper presents a model in which vote-persistence is partly due to the dependence of the utility on the previous voting decision. This dependence is termed 'habit formation'. The model and its implications are supported by individual-level panel data on the presidential elections in the USA in 1972 and 1976. For example, it is found that the voting probability is a function of the lagged choice variable, even when the endogeneity of the lagged variable is accounted for, and that the tendency to vote for different parties in sequential elections decreased with the age of the voter. Furthermore, using structural estimation the effect of habit is estimated, while allowing unobserved differences among respondents. The structural habit parameter implies that the effect of previous votes on the current decision is quite strong. The habit model fits the data better than the traditional 'party identification' model. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/jae.698
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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca:80/jae/2003-v18.3/
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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 251-269

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    Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:18:y:2003:i:3:p:251-269
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    1. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
    2. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    3. Bernhardt, M. Daniel & Ingerman, Daniel E., 1985. "Candidate reputations and the `incumbency effect'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 47-67, June.
    4. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Shachar, Ron, 1994. "A diagnostic test for the sources of persistence in individuals' decisions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 7-13, May.
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