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Guns and Votes

Author

Listed:
  • Bouton, Laurent
  • Conconi, Paola
  • Pino, Francisco
  • Zanardi, Maurizio

Abstract

Why are U.S. congressmen reluctant to support gun control regulations, despite the fact that most Americans are in favor of them? We argue that re-election motives can lead politicians to take a pro-gun stance against the interests of an apathetic majority of the electorate, but in line with the interests of an intense minority. We develop a model of gun control choices in which incumbent politicians are both office and policy motivated, and voters differ in the direction and intensity of their preferences. We derive conditions under which politicians support gun control early in their terms, but oppose them when they approach re-election. We test the predictions of the model by analyzing votes on gun-related legislation in the U.S. Senate, in which one third of the members are up for re-election every two years. We find that senators are more likely to vote pro gun when they are close to facing re-election, a result which holds comparing both across and within legislators. Only Democratic senators "flip flop" on gun control, and only if the group of pro-gun voters in their constituency is of intermediate size.

Suggested Citation

  • Bouton, Laurent & Conconi, Paola & Pino, Francisco & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2013. "Guns and Votes," CEPR Discussion Papers 9726, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9726
    as

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    Other versions of this item:

    • Laurent Bouton & Paola Conconi & Francisco Pino & Maurizio Zanardi, 2013. "Guns and votes," Working Papers 43819146, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    • Laurent Bouton & Paola Conconi & Francisco Pino & Maurizio Zanardi, 2014. "Guns and Votes," NBER Working Papers 20253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Laurent Bouton & Paola Conconi & Francisco Pino & Maurizio Zanardi, 2013. "Guns and Votes," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2013-39, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elliott Ash & Massimo Morelli & Richard Van Weelden, 2015. "Elections and Divisiveness: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 21422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Laurent Bouton & Paola Conconi & Francisco Pino & Maurizio Zanardi, 2018. "Guns, Environment, and Abortion: How Single-Minded Voters Shape Politicians' Decisions," Working Papers wp459, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    3. Conconi, Paola & DeRemer, David R. & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Trimarchi, Lorenzo & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2017. "Suspiciously timed trade disputes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 57-76.
    4. Conconi, Paola & Facchini, Giovanni & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2014. "Policymakers' horizon and trade reforms: The protectionist effect of elections," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 102-118.
    5. repec:eee:ecolec:v:144:y:2018:i:c:p:27-35 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Hélia Costa, 2016. "Pork barrel as a signaling tool: the case of US environmental policy," GRI Working Papers 225, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    7. Michael Luca & Deepak Malhotra & Christopher Poliquin, 2016. "The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy," Harvard Business School Working Papers 16-126, Harvard Business School, revised Oct 2016.
    8. Bellani, Luna & Fabella, Vigile Marie, 2018. "Upward Income Mobility and Legislator Support for Education Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 11324, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Elections; Gun-control regulations; Pandering; Vocal minority;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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