Left, Right, Left: Income, Learning and Political Dynamics

35 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2013

See all articles by John Morrow

John Morrow

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); King's College London

Michael Carter

University of California, Davis

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

The political left turn in Latin America, which lagged its transition to liberalized market economies by a decade or more, challenges conventional economic explanations of voting behavior. This paper generalizes the forward-looking voter model to a broad range of dynamic, non-concave income processes. The model implies support for redistributive policies materializes rapidly if few prospects of upward mobility are present. In contrast, modeling voters' ideologically charged beliefs about income dynamics shows a slow and polarizing shift toward redistributive preferences occurs. Simulation using fitted income dynamics suggests that imperfect information better accounts for the shift back to the left, and offers additional insights about political dynamics.

Suggested Citation

Morrow, John and Carter, Michael, Left, Right, Left: Income, Learning and Political Dynamics (October 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19498, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2336364

John Morrow (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
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King's College London ( email )

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London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Michael Carter

University of California, Davis ( email )

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Apt 153
Davis, CA 95616
United States

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