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Politics and preferences

  • Folke, Olle

The overall aim of this thesis is to better understand how politics and preferences influence policy outcomes. The thesis consists of two papers that examine two different policy outcomes in Swedish municipalities. Paper I analyzes the effect of income and education on the environmental policy performance of Swedish local governments. In estimating the effects of income and education we will also examine how they interact with political participation. To examine this I use panel data based on an environmental ranking of Swedish municipalities made every year between 1993 and 2001. The empirical results show that there is a positive relationship between income and the environmental policy performance. This relationship is however captured by controlling for the education level, which has a positive relationship with the environmental policy performance. Controlling for municipal fixed effects and relevant control variables does not change this result. Furthermore we find that political participation has significant interaction effects with both income and education. Paper II develops a regression discontinuity (RD) design to estimate the causal effect of political party power on the placement of refugee immigrants in Swedish municipalities. That Swedish municipalities have a proportional election system puts forward specific challenges for using a RD design, which this paper will provide solutions to. The identification strategy is based on the idea that a specific party getting one more seat or not in the municipal council can be considered as good as random if the party is close to a seat change. Even though this paper only looks at Swedish data the method could be applied to other countries with proportional election systems. The results of the paper show that the political party power has a large effect on the placement of refugee immigrants in Swedish municipalities.

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Paper provided by Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics in its series Department of Economics publications with number 1761.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:sua:ekonwp:1761
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  1. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Nouriel Roubini & Gerald D. Cohen, 1997. "Political Cycles and the Macroeconomy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510944, August.
  3. Torras, Mariano & Boyce, James K., 1998. "Income, inequality, and pollution: a reassessment of the environmental Kuznets Curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 147-160, May.
  4. Farzin, Y. Hossein & Bond, Craig A., 2006. "Democracy and environmental quality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 213-235, October.
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