The Cost of a Divided America: An Experimental Study into Destructive Behavior

72 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2020

See all articles by Wladislaw Mill

Wladislaw Mill

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

John Morgan

University of California, Berkeley

Date Written: October 28, 2020

Abstract

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

Mill, Wladislaw and Morgan, John, The Cost of a Divided America: An Experimental Study into Destructive Behavior (October 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3720651 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3720651

Wladislaw Mill (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

John Morgan

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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