Some International Evidence on Deviations from Pocketbook Voting and Its Relevance for the Political Economy
This paper empirically investigates whether individuals indeed vote with their pocketbooks. Individual level data from the General Social Survey and the World Values Survey show significant deviations from pocketbook voting even among the poorest and the richest individuals in the sample. Differences in income status, education status, and perceived social mobility explain only a small fraction of the cross-country variation in the preference for income equality. Economically large and statistically significant country effects remain. There is no evidence that the median preference for income equality is more intense when incomes are more unequal or when the regimes are more democratic, a finding that rules out redistributive pressure as an important mechanism through which inequality affects growth under majority rule.
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