Voting and Political Participation in the Aftermath of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
This is the first study to examine the effect of experiencing a widespread, deadly epidemic on voting behavior. Using data on elections to the U.S House of Representatives and leveraging cross-district variation in HIV/AIDS mortality during the period 1983-1987, we document the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on votes received by Democratic and Republican candidates. Beginning with the 1994 elections, there is a strong, positive association between HIV/AIDS mortality and the vote share received by Democratic candidates. Congressional districts that bore the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic also saw substantial increases in Democratic voter turnout and contributions made to Democratic candidates.
This research was not supported by grants nor do the authors have financial relationships that bear on this research. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.