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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.
Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Connecticut 365 Fairfield Way, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, . "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Working Papers 178, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  3. Fair, Ray C, 1978. "The Effect of Economic Events on Votes for President," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(2), pages 159-73, May.
  4. Roland Bénabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility And The Demand For Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487, May.
  5. Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2005. "The Effect of Randomized School Admissions on Voter Participation," NBER Working Papers 11794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Who wants to redistribute?: The tunnel effect in 1990s Russia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 87-104, April.
  7. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise In The Disability Rolls And The Decline In Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-205, February.
  8. Piketty, Thomas, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-84, August.
  9. Wolfers, Justin, 2002. "Are Voters Rational? Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections," Research Papers 1730, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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  11. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Political Economy of Hatred," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 45-86, January.
  13. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
  14. Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "Fifty Million Voters Can't Be Wrong: Economic Self-Interest and Redistributive Politics," NBER Working Papers 12371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle, March.
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  17. Rafael Di Tella & Sebastian Galiani & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2007. "The Formation of Beliefs: Evidence from the Allocation of Land Titles to Squatters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 209-241, 02.
  18. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Economic Voting And Electoral Behavior: How Do Individual, Local, And National Factors Affect The Partisan Choice?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 265-296, 07.
  19. Gerald E. Auten & Holger Sieg & Charles T. Clotfelter, 2002. "Charitable Giving, Income, and Taxes: An Analysis of Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 371-382, March.
  20. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2007. "Aggregation Reversals and the Social Formation of Beliefs," NBER Working Papers 13031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Timothy J. Bartik, . "Who Benefits from Local Job Growth: Migrants or Original Residents?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles tjb1993rs, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  22. Peltzman, Sam, 1987. "Economic Conditions and Gubernatorial Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 293-97, May.
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