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Selfish and Prospective: Theory and Evidence of Pocketbook Voting

  • Elinder, Mikael

    ()

    (Uppsala University)

  • Jordahl, Henrik

    ()

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Poutvaara, Panu

    ()

    (University of Helsinki)

We present and test a theory of prospective and retrospective pocketbook voting. Focusing on two large reforms in Sweden, we establish a causal chain from policies to sizeable individual gains and losses and then to voting. The Social Democrats proposed budget cuts affecting parents with young children before the 1994 election, but made generous promises to the same group before the 1998 election. Since parents with older children were largely unaffected we use a difference-in-differences strategy for identification. We find clear evidence of prospective pocketbook voting. Voters respond to campaign promises but not to the later implementation of the reforms.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 770.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 16 Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming as Elinder, Mikael, Henrik Jordahl and Panu Poutvaara, 'Promises, Policies and Pocketbook Voting' in European Economic Review.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0770
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
Fax: +46 8 665 4599
Web page: http://www.ifn.se/
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