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Prof. Stephen Ross with his co-authors Eric Brunner (BA alumnus) and Ebonya Washington had their paper “Economics and Policy Preferences: Causal Evidence of the Impact of Economic Conditions on Support for Redistribution and Other Ballot Proposals” accepted recently at the Review of Economics and Statistics, one of the leading journals in the profession.

In this paper, they analyze voting data on California ballot propositions between 1990 and 2004 classifying these propositions based on their political leaning (Democrat vs. Republican) and based on the type of proposition (fiscal vs. social). They find strong evidence that positive economic shocks lead to declines in support for redistributive policies using an exogenous proxy for economic shocks based on changes in national employment composition and the composition of worker industry at the neighborhood level. Further, they find that voters behave as if the voters have a preference for consistency in political preferences so that economic shocks have a smaller but similar impact on voting on non-economic ballot issues.

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