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Do the rich vote Conservative because they are rich?




Political economy models predict that the rich oppose redistribution, and hence vote for conservative parties. Although this seems to fit the data well, I show that this is not true when we control for unobservable characteristics. Using Norwegian survey data, I study to what extent voting is caused by income. Unobserved characteristics correlated with income are handled by using fixed effects panel data discrete choice models. Although a positive association between income and conservative voting persists when controlling for unobservables, the magnitude of the effect is reduced by a factor of five. To correct for measurement error, I instrument income with average income by profession. The magnitude of the coefficients is increased, but the main conclusions remain.

Suggested Citation

  • Lind, Jo Thori, 2006. "Do the rich vote Conservative because they are rich?," Memorandum 02/2006, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2006_002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gramlich, Edward M & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1982. "Micro Estimates of Public Spending Demand Functions and Tests of the Tiebout and Median-Voter Hypotheses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 536-560, June.
    2. Lewis, Alan, 1979. "An Empirical Assessment of Tax Mentality," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 34(2), pages 245-257.
    3. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, March.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:04:p:859-874_40 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nelson, Forrest & Olson, Lawrence, 1978. "Specification and Estimation of a Simultaneous-Equation Model with Limited Dependent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(3), pages 695-709, October.
    6. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    7. Gary Chamberlain, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 225-238.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jo Thori Lind, 2005. "Why is there so little redistribution?," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 31, pages 111-125.
    2. Markussen, Simen, 2008. "How the left prospers from prosperity," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 329-342, June.
    3. Lind Jo Thori, 2007. "Does Permanent Income Determine the Vote?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-27, July.

    More about this item


    Political economy; redistribution; voting; multinomial logit; panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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