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Title: Essays on political economy
Author: Acacia, Francesca
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 6582
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2012
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The first chapter shows that the ideological dimension is the key determinant of the decision to vote. We do so with a unique data base that analyses the elections in 16 OECD multi-party system countries for a period of time that spans from the 1979 to the 1995. This data set contains information on the ideological position taken by each party competing in an election and the self-declared ideological position of the citizens on the same ideological continuum. We estimate that the likelihood of voting is higher when there is a close distance between a voter’s bliss point and the preference of the nearest party. We also find that ideological location of the second nearest party matters for the decision to vote. Moreover, our results exclude that the ideology of political parties other than the first two nearest to the preferences of the voters are significant for the decision to vote. The second chapter focuses on why turnout varies across elections and across districts. A simple micro-founded measure of policy based party competition is developed and calculated for every district at every election in 15 European countries over the period 1947-1998. Our results suggest that a large proportion of the within-district inter-election variance in turnout levels can be attributed to differences in the intensity of district-level of political competition. The third chapter extends the research on happiness and spatial theory of voting by exploring whether the ideological vote affects the level of subjective well-being in the society. I rely my analysis on data on the subjective life satisfaction of a large sample of individual over 50 elections in 15 OECD countries. The results of the analysis lend firm support to the dominant role of ideological vote in the well-being of the individuals. Specifically, I demonstrate that subjective life satisfaction is negatively affected by the presence of strategic voting. The results also suggest that the level of well-being is lower when the citizen votes strategically for a political party that has not won the electoral competition. Moreover, when I account for the political affiliation, the right-wing voters are more susceptible to ideological consideration than the left wing one. My results are robust to different measures of strategic voting.
Supervisor: Rockey, James. ; De Fraja, Giovanni. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available