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Backing the incumbent in difficult times: the electoral impact of wildfires

Author

Listed:
  • Roberto Ramos

    () (Banco de España)

  • Carlos Sanz

    () (Banco de España)

Abstract

How do voters react to large shocks that are (mostly) outside the control of politicians? We address this question by studying the electoral effects of wildfires in Spain during 1983-2011. Using a difference-in-difference strategy, we find that a large accidental fire up to nine months ahead of a local election increases the incumbent party’s vote share by almost 8 percentage points. We find that a rally-behind-the-leader effect best explains the results. A simple formalization of this mechanism yields an implication – that the effect should be larger for stronger (more voted) incumbents – that is supported by the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Ramos & Carlos Sanz, 2018. "Backing the incumbent in difficult times: the electoral impact of wildfires," Working Papers 1810, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
  • Handle: RePEc:bde:wpaper:1810
    as

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    File URL: https://www.bde.es/f/webbde/SES/Secciones/Publicaciones/PublicacionesSeriadas/DocumentosTrabajo/18/Files/dt1810e.pdf
    File Function: First version, March 2018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    voting behavior; rally behind the leader; difference-in-differences;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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