Voting Your Region or Vote your Income? Decomposing Variance in Redistributive Voting

About this Session


Thu. 07.04. 12:45



Speaker: Melissa Rogers, Co-Author: Dong Wook Lee

We examine whether preferences for regional productivity predict votes for redistribution and voting cohesiveness. We argue that highly productive “rich” regions sustain growth with diversified economies based on investments in human capital and consumption, policies often advocated by leftist parties. Less productive “poor” regions may instead benefit from lower taxation and targeted benefits to economic sectors, policies often pushed by conservative parties. In a European sample, we document that rich and poor people in less productive regions vote significantly more for parties opposed to redistribution than their counterparts in more productive regions. Yet voters are also cross-pressured in their preferences for policies that enhance regional productivity versus their pocketbook interests. Using a novel approach to decompose vote variance, we identify cross-pressure from voters’ individual incomes and their regions’ productivity that leads to high variability in rich voters in rich regions, and high cohesion among rich voters in poor regions.