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Does Money Make People Right-Wing and Inegalitarian? A Longitudinal Study of Lottery Winners


  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh

    (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    (University of Warwick)


The causes of people's political attitudes are largely unknown. We study this issue by exploiting longitudinal data on lottery winners. Comparing people before and after a lottery windfall, we show that winners tend to switch towards support for a right-wing political party and to become less egalitarian. The larger the win, the more people tilt to the right. This relationship is robust to (i) different ways of defining right-wing, (ii) a variety of estimation methods, and (iii) methods that condition on the person previously having voted left. It is strongest for males. Our findings are consistent with the view that voting is driven partly by human self-interest. Money apparently makes people more right-wing.

Suggested Citation

  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Oswald, Andrew J., 2014. "Does Money Make People Right-Wing and Inegalitarian? A Longitudinal Study of Lottery Winners," IZA Discussion Papers 7934, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7934

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    Cited by:

    1. George Bulman & Robert Fairlie & Sarena Goodman & Adam Isen, 2021. "Parental Resources and College Attendance: Evidence from Lottery Wins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(4), pages 1201-1240, April.
    2. Mounir Karadja & Johanna Mollerstrom & David Seim, 2017. "Richer (and Holier) Than Thou? The Effect of Relative Income Improvements on Demand for Redistribution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 201-212, May.
    3. Viktar Fedaseyeu & Erik Gilje & Philip E. Strahan, 2015. "Voter Preferences and Political Change: Evidence from Shale Booms," NBER Working Papers 21789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Alberto Montagnoli & Mirko Moro & Georgios A. Panos & Robert E. Wright, 2016. "Financial Literacy and Political Orientation in Great Britain," Working Papers 2016_23, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    5. Nowakowski, Adam, 2021. "Do unhappy citizens vote for populism?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    6. G. Andersen, Asbjørn & Franklin, Simon & Getahun, Tigabu & Kotsadam, Andreas & Somville, Vincent & Villanger, Espen, 2023. "Does wealth reduce support for redistribution? Evidence from an Ethiopian housing lottery," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 224(C).
    7. Gualtieri, Giovanni & Nicolini, Marcella & Sabatini, Fabio, 2019. "Repeated shocks and preferences for redistribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 53-71.
    8. Lea Cassar & Arnd H. Klein, 2019. "A Matter of Perspective: How Failure Shapes Distributive Preferences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(11), pages 5050-5064, November.
    9. Lea Cassar & Arnd H. Klein, 2017. "A Matter of Perspective: How Experience Shapes Preferences for Redistribution," CESifo Working Paper Series 6302, CESifo.
    10. Chrysanthou, Georgios Marios & Guilló, María Dolores, 2018. "The dynamics of political party support and egocentric economic evaluations: The Scottish case," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 192-213.
    11. Upward, Richard & Wright, Peter, 2024. "Income shocks, political support and voting behaviour," IWH Discussion Papers 1/2024, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    12. Fabio Sabatini & Marco Ventura & Eiji Yamamura & Luca Zamparelli, 2020. "Fairness and the Unselfish Demand for Redistribution by Taxpayers and Welfare Recipients," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(3), pages 971-988, January.
    13. Liberini, Federica & Redoano, Michela & Proto, Eugenio, 2017. "Happy voters," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 41-57.
    14. Arie Sherman & Tal Shavit & Guy Barokas, 2020. "A Dynamic Model on Happiness and Exogenous Wealth Shock: The Case of Lottery Winners," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 117-137, January.
    15. Daniel Gray & Harry Pickard & Luke Munford, 2021. "Election Outcomes and Individual Subjective Wellbeing in Great Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 88(351), pages 809-837, July.
    16. Richard Upward & Peter Wright, 2023. "Income shocks, political support and voting behaviour," Discussion Papers 2023-17, Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP).
    17. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino & Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Social norms on rent seeking and preferences for redistribution," Econometica Working Papers wp55, Econometica.
    18. Andrea Fazio, 2021. "Beautiful inequality: Are beautiful people more willing to redistribute?," Working Papers in Public Economics 194, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Economics and Law.
    19. Meyer, Andrew G., 2017. "The impact of education on political ideology: Evidence from European compulsory education reforms," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 9-23.
    20. Fazio, Andrea, 2022. "Attractiveness and preferences for redistribution," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 46(C).
    21. Chrysanthou, Georgios Marios & Guilló, María Dolores, 2016. "The Dynamics of Heterogeneous Political Party Support and Egocentric Economic Evaluations: the Scottish Case," QM&ET Working Papers 16-3, University of Alicante, D. Quantitative Methods and Economic Theory.
    22. Anna Hochleitner, 2022. "Fairness in times of crisis: Negative shocks, relative income and preferences for redistribution," Discussion Papers 2022-08, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

    More about this item


    voting; gender; lottery wins; political preferences; income; attitudes;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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