The Cost of a Divided America: An Experimental Study into Destructive Behavior
72 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2020
Date Written: October 28, 2020
Does the polarization in the US lead to dysfunctional behavior? To study this question, we investigate the attitudes of supporters of Donald Trump and of Hillary Clinton towards each other and how these attitudes affect spiteful behavior. We find that both Trump and Clinton supporters have less positive attitudes towards the opposing supporters compared to coinciding supporters. More importantly, we show that significantly more wealth is destroyed if the opponent is an opposing voter. Surprisingly, this effect is mainly found for Clinton voters. This provides the first experimental evidence that the divide in the nation leads to destructive behavior.
Keywords: Spite; Voting; Experiment; Hillary Clinton; Donald Trump
JEL Classification: C91, D01, D62, D72, D74
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation