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


  • Nattavudh Powdthavee

    (London School of Economics)

  • Andrew Oswald

    (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

  • Nattavudh Powdthavee & Andrew Oswald, 2016. "Does Money Make People Right-Wing and Inegalitarian? A Longitudinal Study of Lottery Winners," PIER Discussion Papers 16., Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, revised Jan 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:pui:dpaper:16.

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    Cited by:

    1. Liberini, Federica & Redoano, Michela & Proto, Eugenio, 2017. "Happy voters," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 41-57.
    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. 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.
    4. George Bulman & Robert Fairlie & Sarena Goodman & Adam Isen, 2016. "Parental Resources and College Attendance: Evidence from Lottery Wins," Working Papers id:11371, eSocialSciences.
    5. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino & Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Social norms on rent seeking and preferences for redistribution," Econometica Working Papers wp55, Econometica.
    6. 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.
    7. Fabio Sabatini & Marco Ventura & Eiji Yamamura & Luca Zamparelli, 2017. "Fairness and the unselfish demand for redistribution by taxpayers and welfare recipients," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 2017/14, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
    8. Lea Cassar & Arnd H. Klein, 2017. "A Matter of Perspective: How Experience Shapes Preferences for Redistribution," CESifo Working Paper Series 6302, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    Voting; Gender; Lottery wins; Political preferences; Income; Attitudes.;

    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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