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From the brady bunch to gilmore girls: The effect of household size on economic voting


  • Manuel E. Lago
  • Ignacio Lago


This article examines how household structure affects evaluations of personal economic conditions. We argue that moderate or mid-range responses when individuals are asked about their personal financial situation are more likely in multi-person households than in one-person households. Using data from the American National Election Studies from 1966 to 2016, we find that personal financial experiences are a very good heuristic for the assessment of national economic conditions. More importantly, we show that personal economic experiences are endogenous to household size. The aggregation of personal economic evaluations within households reduces the variation across household members, and therefore it is harder for an individual to say that her personal financial situation is good or bad in multi-person households. The main implication of our analysis is that economic voting in advanced societies is expected to be stronger in one-person households and over time, given the downward trend in the average number of household members.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel E. Lago & Ignacio Lago, 2019. "From the brady bunch to gilmore girls: The effect of household size on economic voting," Working Papers. Collection A: Public economics, governance and decentralization 1901, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:gov:wpaper:1901

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    More about this item


    economic voting; household size; personal finance experience; sociotropic voting; U.S. presidential elections.;

    JEL classification:

    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism


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