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Economics and Ideology: Causal Evidence of the Impact of Economic Conditions on Support for Redistribution and Other Ballot Proposal

  • Brunner, Eric

    (Quinnipiac U)

  • Ross, Stephen L.

    (U of Connecticut)

  • Washington, Ebonya

    (Yale U)

There is a large literature demonstrating that positive economic conditions increase support for incumbent candidates, but little understanding of how economic conditions affect preferences for parties and for particulars of their platforms. We ask how exogenous shifts to the value of residents' human capital affect voting behavior in California neighborhoods. As predicted by economic theory, we find that positive economic shocks decrease support for redistributive policies. More notably, we find that conservative voting on a wide variety of ballot propositions--from crime to gambling to campaign finance--is increasing in economic well being. We further show that positive economic circumstances decrease turnout and have a mixed impact on candidate choice, highlighting a limitation of inferring policy preferences from party choice.

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Paper provided by Yale University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 50.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:50
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