Marcus Painter, Tian Qiu, 11 May 2020

Social distancing is vital to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. Leveraging smartphone geolocation data, this column examines how political beliefs impact the effectiveness of state-level social distancing orders in the US. The findings suggest that Republicans and misaligned Democrats are less likely to adhere to social distancing orders. Bipartisan support for social distancing measures thus appears to be a key factor in how quickly we can mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Fabrizio Zilibotti, Andreas Müller, Kjetil Storesletten, 12 November 2019

The growth of the US national debt during the Trump presidency is particularly remarkable given its overlap with a period of economic expansion. But in this regard if few others, the Trump administration is no outlier. This column challenges the claim that Republicans adhere to fiscal conservatism in debt policy. Instead, it shows that Republican administrations since WWII have been more prone to expand government debt than their Democratic counterparts. And broadly speaking, the same pattern emerges in a panel of OECD countries.  

Michael Geruso, Dean Spears, Ishaana Talesara, 19 October 2019

The candidate who won the popular vote in the US has not won the presidency four times in the past two centuries, most recently in 2016. This column uses state-level voting data in presidential races extending back to 1836 to examine just how likely these Electoral College inversions are. The findings suggest that in 45% of presidential races decided by less than one percent of the vote, the popular vote winner will lose. Over the last 30 years, the probability has been about 70% that if an inversion occurs, it would have been a Democratic popular vote majority but a Republican Electoral College win.

Raquel Fernández, Sahar Parsa, 20 June 2019

Over the last few decades, there has been a large change in public opinion towards same-sex relationships.It has been argued that to drive such a change in public attitudes, a ‘shock’ of some kind is needed. This column examines the change in attitudes in the US towards same-sex relationships in relation to the AIDS epidemic. It shows that the change is indeed greater in those states most exposed to the AIDS epidemic, although only women reacted significantly to the AIDS rate in the 1990s.

Elisabeth Kempf, Margarita Tsoutsoura, 21 December 2018

Partisanship in the US is on the rise. With growing disagreement across voters of different political parties on key issues, understanding the potential implications of this trend for the US economy is of first-order importance. This column examines the degree to which partisan ideology affects the decisions of financial analysts. Using a novel dataset that links credit rating analysts to party affiliations from voter registration records, it shows that analysts who are not affiliated with the US president's party are more likely to downward-adjust corporate credit ratings.

Pietro Veronesi, 10 September 2018

Why does the stock market tend to do better under Democrat Presidents than Republican ones? In this video, Pietro Veronesi of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business explains how the evidence seems to show that when risk aversion is very high, during ‘bad times’, voters are more to elect Democrat candidates, thus improvements in stock market performance are more visible under Democratic presidencies.

Alexis Grigorieff, Chris Roth, Diego Ubfal, 29 March 2017

There has been a surge of anti-immigrant sentiment in the US and many European countries. This column uses survey results to show that accurate information about numbers of immigrants changes opinions on whether there are too many immigrants, but not on policy towards them. More detailed information on the characteristics of immigrants, however, can increase support for pro-immigrant policies, particularly among those who start off with the most negative views on immigration.

Giovanni Peri, Anna Maria Mayda, Walter Steingress, 02 February 2016

Immigration is an important election issue that often benefits right-wing political parties. Contemporary European politics is an example par excellence. Immigration in the US has been intermittently at the fringes and centre-stage in recent years, and this column looks at the extent to which US voters care about immigration. The political effect of immigration turns out to crucially depend on the extent to which immigrants participate in the political process. One thing from the research is clear: Republicans are generally opposed to immigration reforms, especially if they include a path to citizenship for currently undocumented immigrants. Naturalised immigrants are a liability for conservative politicians, as they tend to vote for progressive parties.

Alan Blinder, Mark Watson, 04 September 2014

Since World War II, economic growth has been faster in the US under Democratic presidents than under Republican ones. This column documents that which party controls Congress does not matter for growth, that the Democratic growth advantage is concentrated in the first two years of a presidency, and that presidential party affiliation Granger-causes growth. Neither fiscal nor monetary policy can account for this gap. Instead, the factors that have explanatory promise are: shocks to oil prices, total factor productivity, European growth, and consumer expectations of future economic conditions.

Andrew Gelman, David Park, Boris Shor, Jeronimo Cortina, 21 April 2008

Barack Obama attracted attention recently by describing small-town Americans who were “bitter” at economic prospects who “cling to guns or religion’’ in frustration. But an opposite view, 'post-materialism', suggests that, as people and societies get richer, their concerns shift from mundane bread-and-butter issues to cultural and spiritual concerns.


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