Economic Rationales for Secession: The Role of Regional Redistribution in Moderating Independence Aspirations
49 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 24, 2019
Despite the substantial social, political and economic implications of secession, little is known about how secessionist movements gain momentum and the factors that govern political decision making in independence referendums. I study how economic considerations shape voting intentions in a hypothetical independence referendum in Greenland. Respondents that are randomly exposed to a prime containing information about the fiscal dependency on the current political union are 44 percent more likely to vote 'no' to independence. There are two channels that account for this effect. Firstly, exposure to negative economic information influences voting by making respondents' prospective economic evaluations of independence more pessimistic. Secondly, the Information Prime rallies undecided voters with negative economic expectations to vote, and thereby changes the voter composition. I find no evidence of a saliency shift towards the economic challenges associated with independence as a third potential channel. The results reveal a high degree of voting behaviour malleability in a non-western setting. Responsiveness is so substantial that the change induced by the Information Prime would swing the outcome of the independence referendum.
Keywords: voting behaviour, information, economic voting, survey experiment
JEL Classification: H77, D74, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation