Economic Distress and Voting: Evidence From the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Economic Distress and Voting: Evidence From the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Abstract

Roughly 7 million Americans lost homes to foreclosure during the Great Recession. Despite claims that the subprime mortgage crisis helped fuel recent political turmoil in the U.S., we lack systematic empirical evidence about the effects of this unprecedented spike in home foreclosures on American elections. We combine nationwide deed-level public records data on home foreclosures with election data and administrative voter data to examine the e effects of home foreclosures on electoral outcomes and on individual voter turnout. At the aggregate level, 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 effected counties. At the individual level, merging the Ohio voter le with foreclosure data, difference -in – differences estimates reveal that Ohioans whose homes were foreclosed on were somewhat less likely to turn out to vote, particularly when foreclosures occurred close to election day. The findings cast doubt on the claim that individual-level economic distress during the Great Recession directly activated angry voters, and raise questions about the posited causal link between economic distress and the electoral punishment of incumbents.

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Economic Distress and Voting: Evidence From the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Comments
One Response to “Economic Distress and Voting: Evidence From the Subprime Mortgage Crisis”
  1. H. Dixon says:

    Written gratis by Stanford academics (read “prestige!”) to the nation’s politicians to assuage politicians’ fears that there might be voter-blowback if the government turns a blind eye, allows the foreclosure mess to continue and refuses to rein in the banks’ fraudulent practices. Never fear, politicians, go ahead and ignore what the banks are doing, go ahead and ignore the misery into which they and their subcontractors cast the voting-aged population. Hey, Pols, leave the banks alone and guess what?–you’ll STILL get re-elected. Our study shows that!

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