Left, Right, Left: Income, Learning and Political Dynamics
The political left turn in Latin America, which lagged its transition to liberalized market economies by a decade or more, challenges conventional economic explanations of voting behavior. This paper generalizes the forward-looking voter model to a broad range of dynamic, non-concave income processes. The model implies support for redistributive policies materializes rapidly if few prospects of upward mobility are present. In contrast, modeling voters’ ideologically charged beliefs about income dynamics shows a slow and polarizing shift toward redistributive preferences occurs. Simulation using fitted income dynamics suggests that imperfect information better accounts for the shift back to the left, and offers additional insights about political dynamics.
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