Is the median voter decisive? Evidence from referenda voting patterns
Eric Brunner () and
Stephen Ross ()
Journal of Public Economics, 2010, vol. 94, issue 11-12, 898-910
This paper examines whether the voter with the median income is decisive in local spending decisions. Previous tests have relied on cross-sectional data while we make use of a pair of California referenda to estimate a first difference specification. The referenda proposed to lower the required vote share for passing local educational bonding initiatives from 67 to 50% and 67 to 55%, respectively. We find that voters rationally consider future public service decisions when deciding how to vote on voting rules. However, the empirical evidence strongly suggests that an income percentile below the median is decisive for majority voting rules, especially in communities that have a large share of high-income voters with attributes that suggest low demand for public services. Based on a model that explicitly recognizes that each community contains voters with both high and low demand for public school spending, we also find that an increase in the share of low demand voters is associated with a lower decisive voter income percentile for the high demand group. This two type model implies that our low demand types (individuals over age 45 with no children) have demands that are 45% lower than other voters. Collectively, these findings are consistent with high-income voters with weak preferences for public educational services voting with the poor against increases in public spending on education.
Keywords: Median; voter; hypothesis; Referenda; Education; spending (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (19) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:11-12:p:898-910
Access Statistics for this article
Journal of Public Economics is currently edited by R. Boadway and J. Poterba
More articles in Journal of Public Economics from Elsevier
Series data maintained by Dana Niculescu ().