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Guns, Environment, and Abortion: How Single-Minded Voters Shape Politicians' Decisions

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Listed:
  • Laurent Bouton
  • Paola Conconi
  • Francisco Pino
  • Maurizio Zanardi

Abstract

We study how electoral incentives affect policy choices on secondary issues, which only minorities of voters care intensely about. We develop a model in which office and policy motivated politicians choose to support or oppose regulations on these issues. We derive conditions under which politicians flip-flop, voting according to their policy preferences at the beginning of their terms, but in line with the preferences of single-issue minorities as they approach re-election. To assess the evidence, we study U.S. senators' votes on gun control, environment, and reproductive rights. In line with our model's predictions, election proximity has a pro-gun effect on Democratic senators and a pro-environment effect on Republican senators. These effects only arise for non-retiring senators, who represent states where the single-issue minority is of intermediate size. Also in line with our theory, election proximity has no impact on senators' decisions on reproductive rights, because of the presence of single-issue minorities on both sides.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurent Bouton & Paola Conconi & Francisco Pino & Maurizio Zanardi, 2018. "Guns, Environment, and Abortion: How Single-Minded Voters Shape Politicians' Decisions," Working Papers wp459, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:udc:wpaper:wp459
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q00 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - General

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