NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Loss Aversion in Politics

Alberto Alesina, Francesco Passarelli

NBER Working Paper No. 21077
Issued in April 2015
NBER Program(s):POL

We study loss aversion in majority voting. First, we show a status quo bias. Second, loss aversion implies a moderating effect. Third, in a dynamic setting, the effect of loss aversion diminishes with the length of the planning horizon of voters; however, in the presence of a projection bias, majorities are partially unable to understand how fast they will adapt. Fourth, in a stochastic environment, loss aversion yields a significant distaste for risk, but also a smaller attachment to the status quo. The application of these results to a model of redistribution leads to empirically plausible implications.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21077

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