Harvard Business School
279 Morgan Hall
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
Institutional Affiliations: Harvard University and CEPR
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2020||The Seeds of Ideology: Historical Immigration and Political Preferences in the United States|
with : w27238
We test the relationship between historical immigration to the United States and political ideology today. We hypothesize that European immigrants brought with them their preferences for the welfare state, and that this had a long-lasting effect on the political ideology of US born individuals. Our analysis proceeds in three steps. First, we document that the historical presence of European immigrants is associated with a more liberal political ideology and with stronger preferences for redistribution among US born individuals today. Next, we show that this correlation is not driven by the characteristics of the counties where immigrants settled or other specific, socioeconomic immigrants’ traits. Finally, we conjecture and provide evidence that immigrants brought with them their preferenc...
|Stereotypes and Politics|
with , : w27194
We examine US voters’ beliefs about views held by Republicans and Democrats. While individuals exaggerate partisan differences on a range of socioeconomic and political issues, we document that belief distortions are larger on issues that individuals consider more important. We organize these facts using a model of stereotypes where distortions are stronger for issues that are more salient to voters. In line with the model, belief distortions are predictable from the differences across parties, in particular the relative prevalence of extreme attitudes. To assess the impact of issue salience, we show that the end of the Cold War in 1991, which shifted US voters’ attention away from external threats and towards domestic issues, led to an increase in perceived polarization in the latter, and...