Working Paper No. 770

Selfish and Prospective: Theory and Evidence of Pocketbook Voting

Published: October 16, 2008Pages: 31Keywords: Elections; Economic voting; Pocketbook voting; Self-interest; Prospective voting; Retrospective voting; Child careJEL-codes: C21; D72; H50

Selfish and Prospective: Theory and Evidence of Pocketbook Voting Mikael Elinder, Henrik Jordahl and Panu Poutvaara

We present and test a theory of prospective and retrospective pocketbook voting. Focusing on two large reforms in Sweden, we establish a causal chain from policies to sizeable individual gains and losses and then to voting. The Social Democrats proposed budget cuts affecting parents with young children before the 1994 election, but made generous promises to the same group before the 1998 election. Since parents with older children were largely unaffected we use a difference-in-differences strategy for identification. We find clear evidence of prospective pocketbook voting. Voters respond to campaign promises but not to the later implementation of the reforms.

Henrik Jordahl


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Mikael Elinder


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Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

Sick of Inequality.jpg

In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


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