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Do Politicians’ Preferences Matter for Voters’ Voting Decisions?


  • Dahlberg, Matz

    () (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies)

  • Mörk, Eva

    () (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies)

  • Sorribas Navarro, Pilar

    () (Universitat de Barcelona and Institut d’Economia de Barcelona)


Using unique survey data that allows us to observe both voters’ and politicians’ preferences for local public spending as well as voting decisions, this paper tests if voters typically support parties in which the politicians’ preferences are closest to their own. Doing so would be rational for the voters to do if politicians’ preferences matter for policy outcomes, as is the case in e.g. the citizen-candidate model. It is found that this is indeed the case. This finding is in line with theoretical models such as the citizen-candidate model arguing that politicians cannot credibly commit to election platforms that differ from their true policy preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Dahlberg, Matz & Mörk, Eva & Sorribas Navarro, Pilar, 2011. "Do Politicians’ Preferences Matter for Voters’ Voting Decisions?," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2011:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uufswp:2011_005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Åsa Ahlin & Eva Johansson, 2001. "Individual Demand for Local Public Schooling: Evidence from Swedish Survey Data," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 331-351, August.
    2. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2008. "Do Parties Matter for Economic Outcomes? A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1037-1056, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick Laurency & Dirk Schindler, 2011. "International Climate Agreements, Cost Reductions and Convergence of Partisan Politics," CESifo Working Paper Series 3591, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    Elections; voting; preferences for public services;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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