NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Francisco Pino

Department of Economics
University of Chile
Diagonal Paraguay 257
Of. 1505B
Santiago
Chile

E-Mail: fjpino@fen.uchile.cl

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2014Guns and Votes
with Laurent Bouton, Paola Conconi, Maurizio Zanardi: w20253
Why are U.S. congressmen reluctant to support gun control regulations, despite the fact that most Americans are in favor of them? We argue that re-election motives can lead politicians to take a pro-gun stance against the interests of an apathetic majority of the electorate, but in line with the interests of an intense minority. We develop a model of gun control choices in which incumbent politicians are both office and policy motivated, and voters differ in the direction and intensity of their preferences. We derive conditions under which politicians support gun control early in their terms, but oppose them when they approach re-election. We test the predictions of the model by analyzing votes on gun-related legislation in the U.S. Senate, in which one third of the members are up for re-e...
 
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