Family Income and the Intergenerational Transmission of Voting Behavior: Evidence from an Income Intervention

71 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2018

See all articles by Randall Akee

Randall Akee

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Luskin School of Public Affairs

William Copeland

Duke University

Elizabeth Costello

Duke University

John Holbein

University of Virginia

Emilia Simeonova

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

Despite clear evidence of an income gradient in political participation, research has not been able to isolate the effects of income on voting from other household characteristics. We investigate how exogenous unconditional cash transfers affected voting in US elections across two generations from the same household. The results confirm that there is strong inter-generational correlation in voting across parents and their children. We also show—consistent with theory—that household receipt of unconditional cash transfers has heterogeneous effects on the civic participation of children coming from different socio-economic backgrounds. It increases children’s voting propensity in adulthood among those raised in initially poorer families. However, income transfers have no effect on parents, regardless of initial income levels. These results suggest that family circumstance during childhood—income in particular—plays a role in influencing levels of political participation in the United States. Further, in the absence of outside shocks, income differences are transmitted across generations and likely contribute to the intergenerational transmission of social and political inequality.

Suggested Citation

Akee, Randall and Copeland, William and Costello, Elizabeth and Holbein, John and Simeonova, Emilia, Family Income and the Intergenerational Transmission of Voting Behavior: Evidence from an Income Intervention (June 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24770, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3206445

Randall Akee (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Luskin School of Public Affairs ( email )

3250 Public Affairs Building
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656
United States

William Copeland

Duke University

Elizabeth Costello

Duke University

John Holbein

University of Virginia ( email )

111 Garrett Hall, University of Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA VA 22903
United States
4342432899 (Phone)
22903 (Fax)

Emilia Simeonova

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School ( email )

100 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
10
Abstract Views
213
PlumX Metrics