A large literature in public economics seeks to answer whether government activity crowds out charitable donations. The empirical evidence is mixed, however, and prior estimates range from large crowding out effects to small crowding in effects. To resolve this inconsistency, we consider that people base their donation decisions not only on government spending per se, but also on their support of the government. Using US tax return data, we find that support for the incumbent president crowds out charitable donations for partisans on both sides of the spectrum. The reduction in donations is consistent with partisans attributing greater problem-solving responsibilities to own-party governments. Taken together, our results demonstrate the importance of non-monetary considerations for crowding out, and suggest a possible mechanism to square the inconsistent empirical results of previous studies.
Over the past decade European citizens’ confidence in different political institutions has declined sharply. Using data from the Eurobarometer (2005-2018) and hierarchical modelling, the paper combines micro and macro characteristics to identify the importance of perceived corruption and austerity measures in this process. This paper documents that corruption is a significant determinant of trust in national governments in Europe, particularly in countries where austerity was more prominent. Additionally, results document that the effect was equally significant across subgroups of the sample, suggesting that the decline in political trust, even though not uniform across individuals, is not solely driven by individual socioeconomic outcomes.
Do mass mobilizations bring about social change? This paper investigates the impact of the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted after George Floyd’s death on the 2020 presidential election. Using local precipitation as an exogenous source of protest variation, we document a marked shift in support for the Democratic candidate in counties that experienced more protesting activity. Ancillary analyses show that increased voter mobilization may explain some but not all of the effect, and that protests shifted people’s attitudes towards racial disparities. Taken together, these findings suggest that BLM protests caused a progressive shift among Independent and Republican oriented voters.
Keywords: Collective Action, Black Lives Matter, Presidential Elections, Protests, IV
JEL Classification: D72, J15