Leticia Abad, Noel Maurer, 19 February 2021

While the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to have affected the 2020 US presidential elections, it had remarkably little effect on the electoral returns. This column compares the situation to the 1918 influenza pandemic and examines whether the flu pandemic affected US congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential elections during 1918–1920. Flu deaths did have a small effect on elections – voters did indeed blame incumbent parties for bad health outcomes. However, it appears they cared about other things much more.

Julia Cagé, 26 October 2020

How well does campaign finance work, and which political parties benefit most? Julia Cagé tells Tim Phillips how the price of a vote has varied in recent British and French elections.

Tommaso Giommoni, Gabriel Loumeau, 19 October 2020

During the COVID-19 outbreak many countries responded with the introduction of social containment measures, but the effects of these ‘lockdown’ policies are unclear. This column examines the electoral impact of the lockdown in France. Focusing on differential restriction measures implemented across French departments, it looks at voting behaviour in the pre-lockdown first round of municipal elections and in the second round after lockdown was implemented. Lockdown regulations appear to have significantly affected electoral outcomes, with higher vote shares for the incumbent and higher voter turnout in localities under harder restrictions.

Valeria Rueda, 09 October 2020

Some ethnic groups are active in African politics, and some are not. Valeria Rueda tells Tim Phillips the fascinating story of how two socioeconomic revolutions more than a century ago shaped post-colonial political power.

Eric Hilt, Wendy Rahn, 02 September 2018

Political pundits have argued that owning financial assets induces households to support business-friendly political parties. This column analyses how ownership of liberty bonds – mass marketed to US households during WWI – affected voting behaviour in the 1920s. Voters responded to fluctuations in the value of the bonds by punishing incumbents when their value fell, and rewarding them when bond values recovered. Although liberty bonds contributed significantly to Republican margins in the 1920s, they don’t appear to have been decisive. 

Harry Garretsen, Janka I. Stoker, Dimitrios Soudis, Ron Martin, Jason Rentfrow, 25 February 2018

The outcome of the UK’s referendum on EU membership came as a shock to most academic and policy experts. This column uses an extensive dataset of personality traits combined with socioeconomic data to show how the clustering of personality traits contributes to an understanding of the regional dispersion of the Brexit vote. Openness appears to be the trait that matters most – modest changes in this openness could actually have swung the vote across UK districts.

Vincenzo Galasso, Tommaso Nannicini, 06 June 2016

The first mixed-gender presidential election in US history is looking increasingly likely, and there is little to suggest that the tone of this campaign will be any less negative than in recent presidential elections. This column uses experiments based around two local elections in Italy to investigate whether men and women differ in their responses to positive and negative election campaigning.  Among female voters, positive campaigning by an opponent increases his or her share of the votes and reduces the votes for the incumbent. Among male voters, however, it is negative campaigning by the opponent that swings votes away from the incumbent.

CEPR Policy Research