Salience and Accountability: School Infrastructure and Last-Minute Electoral Punishment

39 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2019 Last revised: 12 Oct 2021

See all articles by Nicolas Ajzenman

Nicolas Ajzenman

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Ruben Durante

Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA); Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Department of Economics and Business, Students

Date Written: September 1, 2019

Abstract

Can seemingly unimportant factors influence voting decisions by making certain issues salient? We study this question in the context of Argentina 2015 presidential elections by examining how the quality of the infrastructure of the school where citizens were assigned to vote influenced their voting choice. Exploiting the quasi-random assignment of voters to ballot stations located in different public schools in the city of Buenos Aires, we nd that individuals assigned to schools with poorer infrastructure were significantly less likely to vote for Mauricio Macri, the incumbent mayor then running for president. The effect is larger in low-income areas - where fewer people can a ord private substitutes to public education - and in places where more households have children in school age. The effect is unlikely to be driven by information scarcity since information on public school infrastructure was readily available to parents before elections. Rather, direct exposure to poor school infrastructure at the time of voting is likely to make public education - and the poor performance of the incumbent - more salient.

Keywords: Elections, Salience, Electoral Punishment, Public Infrastructure, Education

JEL Classification: D72, D83, I25, D90

Suggested Citation

Ajzenman, Nicolás and Durante, Ruben, Salience and Accountability: School Infrastructure and Last-Minute Electoral Punishment (September 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3496369 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3496369

Nicolás Ajzenman (Contact Author)

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics ( email )

Rua Itapeva 474 s.1202
São Paulo, São Paulo 01332-000
Brazil

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Ruben Durante

Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) ( email )

P/ Lluis Companys 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Department of Economics and Business, Students ( email )

Barcelona
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://www.rubendurante.net

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