NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Moral Values and Voting

Benjamin Enke

NBER Working Paper No. 24268
Issued in January 2018, Revised in August 2018
NBER Program(s):Public Economics, Political Economy

This paper studies the supply of and demand for moral values in recent U.S. presidential elections. Using a combination of large-scale questionnaire data and text analyses, I find support for the hypothesis that both voters and politicians exhibit heterogeneity in their emphasis on “universal” relative to “communal” moral values, and that politicians’ vote shares partly reflect the extent to which their moral appeal matches the values of the electorate, in particular in 2016. Over the last decade, Americans’ values have become increasingly communal – especially in rural areas – which generated increased moral polarization and changes in voting patterns across space.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24268

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