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Economics and Ideology: Causal Evidence of the Impact of Economic Conditions on Support for Redistribution and Other Ballot Proposals

  • Eric Brunner

    (Quinnipiac University)

  • Stephen L. Ross

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Ebonya Washington

    (Yale University)

There is a large literature demonstrating that positive economic conditions increase support for incumbent candidates, but little understanding of how economic conditions affect preferences for parties and for particulars of their platforms. We ask how exogenous shifts to the value of residents. human capital affect voting behavior in California neighborhoods. As predicted by economic theory, we find that positive economic shocks decrease support for redistributive policies. More notably, we find that conservative voting on a wide variety of ballot propositions--from crime to gambling to campaign finance--is increasing in economic well being.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2008-18.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision: Aug 2008
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2008-18
Note: We are grateful to Alberto Alesina, Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat, David Autor, Rafael di Tella, Yan Chen, Rachel Croson, Dhammika Dharmapala, Erica Field, Alan Gerber, Timothy Guinnane, Elizabeth Hoffman, Gregory Huber, Lawrence Katz, Lawrence Kenny, Ulrike Malmendier, Sendhil Mullainathan, Antoinette Schoar and Ken Shotts and to seminar participants at the Brookings Institute, Clark University, Harvard University, MIT, University of Chicago, University of Connecticut, University of Kentucky and University of Pennsylvania for helpful comments.
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