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Rewarded for Relief: The Political Effects and Legacy of New Deal Spending (Political Behaviour Colloquium)

Dates:
  • Tue 30 Jun 2020 17.45 - 19.16
  Add to Calendar 2020-06-30 17:45 2020-06-30 19:16 Europe/Paris Rewarded for Relief: The Political Effects and Legacy of New Deal Spending (Political Behaviour Colloquium)

Using county-level data on New Deal program spending and a difference-indifferences design, I show that work relief spending after the Great Depression increased support for the Democratic Party in presidential elections. In contrast, I find no effect of private sector stimulus spending. In short, voters rewarded Democrats for creating new jobs for those without work, but not for stimulating private sector economic production. The positive effects of relief spending persist until the 1960 election, and are robust to accounting for pre-spending economic decline and subsequent economic growth. The effects are substantively and statistically larger in counties with greater media access, suggesting that the media may have helped facilitate policy voting. My results add additional evidence on the policy-based foundations of the New Deal realignment, and have implications for how elected leaders can use government spending for electoral advantage during periods of national economic crisis.

Online meeting over zoom - DD/MM/YYYY
  Online meeting over zoom -

Using county-level data on New Deal program spending and a difference-indifferences design, I show that work relief spending after the Great Depression increased support for the Democratic Party in presidential elections. In contrast, I find no effect of private sector stimulus spending. In short, voters rewarded Democrats for creating new jobs for those without work, but not for stimulating private sector economic production. The positive effects of relief spending persist until the 1960 election, and are robust to accounting for pre-spending economic decline and subsequent economic growth. The effects are substantively and statistically larger in counties with greater media access, suggesting that the media may have helped facilitate policy voting. My results add additional evidence on the policy-based foundations of the New Deal realignment, and have implications for how elected leaders can use government spending for electoral advantage during periods of national economic crisis.


Location:
Online meeting over zoom -

Affiliation:
Department of Political and Social Sciences

Type:
Working group

Speaker:
Brian Hamel (UCLA)
 

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