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Economic distress and voting: evidence from the subprime mortgage crisis

Andrew B. Hall, Jesse Yoder and Nishant Karandikar

Political Science Research and Methods, 2021, vol. 9, issue 2, 327-344

Abstract: We use nationwide deed-level records on home foreclosures to examine the effects of economic distress on electoral outcomes and individual voter turnout. County-level difference-in-differences estimates show that counties that suffered larger increases in foreclosures did not punish or reward members of the incumbent president's party more than less affected counties. Linking the Ohio voter file to individual foreclosures, difference-in-differences estimates show that individuals whose homes were foreclosed on were less likely to turn out, rather than being mobilized. However, in 2016 counties more exposed to foreclosures supported Trump at substantially higher rates. Taken together, the evidence suggests that the effect of local economic distress on incumbent performance is generally close to zero and only becomes substantial in unusual circumstances.

Date: 2021
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