Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 2011:10: Do Politicians’ Preferences Matter for Voters’ Voting Decisions?

Matz Dahlberg (), Eva Mörk () and Pilar Sorribas Navarro ()
Additional contact information
Matz Dahlberg: Department of Economics, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Eva Mörk: Department of Economics, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Pilar Sorribas Navarro: Universitat de Barcelona and Institut d’Economia de Barcelona

Abstract: Using unique survey data that allows us to observe both voters’ and politicians’ preferences for local public spending as well as voting decisions, this paper tests if voters typically support parties in which the politicians’ preferences are closest to their own. Doing so would be rational for the voters to do if politicians’ preferences matter for policy outcomes, as is the case in e.g. the citizen-candidate model. It is found that this is indeed the case. This finding is in line with theoretical models such as the citizen-candidate model arguing that politicians cannot credibly commit to election platforms that differ from their true policy preferences.

Keywords: Elections; voting; preferences for public services

JEL-codes: H71; P16

28 pages, May 16, 2011

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