The Tyranny of the Single Minded: Guns, Environment, and Abortion

65 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2018 Last revised: 13 May 2019

See all articles by Laurent Bouton

Laurent Bouton

Georgetown University - Department of Economics

Paola Conconi

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Francisco Pino

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Maurizio Zanardi

Lancaster University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2018

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 vote in favor or against 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 the model's predictions, we find that i) election proximity has a pro-gun effect on Democratic senators and a pro-environment effect on Republican senators; these effects arise for senators who ii) are not retiring, iii) do not hold safe seats, and iv) represent states where the single-issue minority is of intermediate size. Also in line with our theory, election proximity does not affect votes on reproductive rights, due to the presence of single-issue minorities on both sides.

Keywords: Electoral incentives, Environment, Gun control, Reproductive Rights

Suggested Citation

Bouton, Laurent and Conconi, Paola and Pino, Francisco and Zanardi, Maurizio, The Tyranny of the Single Minded: Guns, Environment, and Abortion (March 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12801. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3149470

Laurent Bouton (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Department of Economics ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Paola Conconi

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
32 2 650 2345 (Phone)
32 2 650 4475 (Fax)

Francisco Pino

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium

Maurizio Zanardi

Lancaster University - Department of Economics ( email )

Lancaster LA1 4YX, LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/zanardi/

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