Economic Voting and Electoral Behaviour: How Do Individual, Local and National Factors Affect the Partisan Choice?

Center for Economic Policy Research Discussion Paper No. 489

40 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2004

See all articles by Andrew Leigh

Andrew Leigh

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House; Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU; IZA

Date Written: April 2005

Abstract

What impact do income and other demographic factors have on voters' partisan choice? Using post-election surveys of 14,000 voters in ten Australian elections between 1966 and 2001, I explore the impact that individual, local and national factors have on voters' decisions. In these ten elections, the poor, foreign-born, younger voters, voters born since 1950, men, and those who are unmarried are more likely to be left-wing. Over the past 35 years, the partisan gap between men and women has closed, but the partisan gap has widened on three dimensions: between young and old; between rich and poor; and between native-born and foreign-born. At a neighbourhood level, I find that, controlling for a respondent's own characteristics, and instrumenting for neighbourhood characteristics, voters who live in richer neighbourhoods are more likely to be right-wing, while those in more ethnically diverse or unequal neighbourhoods are more likely to be left-wing. Controlling for incumbency, macroeconomic factors do not seem to affect partisan preferences - Australian voters apparently regard both major parties as equally capable of governing in booms and busts.

Keywords: Elections, voting, partisanship, income, inequality, neighbourhood effects

JEL Classification: D31, D72, E24

Suggested Citation

Leigh, Andrew, Economic Voting and Electoral Behaviour: How Do Individual, Local and National Factors Affect the Partisan Choice? (April 2005). Center for Economic Policy Research Discussion Paper No. 489, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=615361 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.615361

Andrew Leigh (Contact Author)

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House ( email )

Canberra, 2600
Australia

Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU ( email )

ANU College of Business and Economics
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

IZA ( email )

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