Can politicians gain votes by means of economic policy promises made during an election campaign? In this ZEW Research Seminar, the speaker empirically addresses this question by investigating voters' behavior in response to a specific electoral announcement: Silvio Berlusconi's promise to abolish the property tax on primary residences during the last days of the 2006 Italian election campaign.
As homeowners would have been directly affected by the policy change, while renters would not have been, he is able to estimate the electoral effect of the announcement using a Difference-in-Differences approach in two independent datasets: an electoral survey and municipal-level electoral data. Both exercises suggest that Berlusconi's promise increased his vote share by a significant amount, which was large enough to be decisive.
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