New publication: “Uncovering the Source of Patrimonial Voting: Evidence from Swedish Twin Pairs”

The CONPOL team is pleased to announce a new publication in Political Behavior: “Uncovering the Source of Patrimonial Voting: Evidence from Swedish Twin Pairs.” The boom in wealth inequality seen in recent decades has generated a steep rise in scholarly interest in both the drivers and the consequences of the wealth gap. In political science, a pertinent question regards the political behavior across the wealth spectrum. A common argument is that the wealthy practice patrimonial voting, i.e. voting for right-wing parties to maximize returns on their assets. While this pattern is descriptively well documented, it is less certain to what extent this reflects an actual causal relationship between wealth and political preferences. In this study, we provide new evidence by exploiting wealth variation within identical twin pairs. Our findings suggest that while more wealth is descriptively connected to more support for right-wing parties, the causal impact of wealth on policy preferences is likely highly overstated. For several relevant policy areas these effects may not exist at all. Furthermore, the bias in naive observational estimates seems to be mainly driven by environmental familial confounders shared within twin pairs, rather than genetic confounding.