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Do the Rich Vote Conservative Because They Are Rich?


  • Jo Thori Lind


Political economics predicts that the rich oppose redistribution and vote for conservative parties. Although this seemingly fits the data well in most countries, I show that the relationship breaks down when we control for unobservable characteristics. Using Norwegian survey data, I study to what extent voting is caused by income. Although a positive association between income and conservative voting persists when controlling for unobservables, the magnitude of the effect is reduced by a factor of five. To correct for measurement error, I instrument income with average income by profession. The magnitude of the coefficients becomes higher, but the main conclusion remains.

Suggested Citation

  • Jo Thori Lind, 2010. "Do the Rich Vote Conservative Because They Are Rich?," Review of Economics and Institutions, Universit√† di Perugia, vol. 1(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:pia:review:v:1:y:2010:i:2:n:5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gramlich, Edward M & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1982. "Micro Estimates of Public Spending Demand Functions and Tests of the Tiebout and Median-Voter Hypotheses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 536-560, June.
    2. Lewis, Alan, 1979. "An Empirical Assessment of Tax Mentality," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 34(2), pages 245-257.
    3. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, March.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:04:p:859-874_40 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nelson, Forrest & Olson, Lawrence, 1978. "Specification and Estimation of a Simultaneous-Equation Model with Limited Dependent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(3), pages 695-709, October.
    6. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    7. Gary Chamberlain, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 225-238.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jo Thori Lind, 2005. "Why is there so little redistribution?," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 31, pages 111-125.
    2. Markussen, Simen, 2008. "How the left prospers from prosperity," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 329-342, June.
    3. Lind Jo Thori, 2007. "Does Permanent Income Determine the Vote?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-27, July.

    More about this item


    political economy; redistribution; voting; multinomial logit; panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • 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
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs


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