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Working Paper

The Effect of Local Economic Shocks on Local and National Elections

We study the reaction of voters to shifts in local economic conditions. Using the departure from the gold standard of US trading partners in 1931 and the US in 1933, we exploit heterogeneity in export destinations, creating local differences in expenditure-switching in US counties by isolating the aggregate effects of the monetary shocks using time fixed effects. We find significant changes in local voting behavior in response to both shocks, one originating abroad, and another domestically. The response to both shocks have similar magnitude. We argue that voters punished and rewarded incumbents regardless of the shocks’ origin, implying strong feedback from economic conditions to electoral outcomes.

Suggested Citation

Herreño, Juan, Matias Morales, and Mathieu Pedemonte. 2023. “The Effect of Local Economic Shocks on Local and National Elections.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 23-08.