Follow the Leader: The Electoral Effect of the COVID-19 Economic Lockdown

34 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2021

See all articles by Massimo Bordignon

Massimo Bordignon

Universita Cattolica; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Federico Franzoni

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan - Graduate School in Public Economics (DEFAP)

Matteo Gamalerio

University of Barcelona - Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB)

Date Written: November 8, 2021

Abstract

We study the effect of the COVID-19 economic lockdown on electoral outcomes using data on municipal elections in Italy. We implement a difference-in-differences approach that exploits the variation across municipalities in the share of inactive workers due to the economic lockdown introduced by the central government. We show that the economic lockdown negatively affected the electoral performance of far-right populist parties not aligned with the central government and positively affected center-left parties aligned with the central government. Conversely, the restrictions did not affect the vote shares of populist parties aligned with the national government, local independent parties (i.e., Civic Lists), and electoral turnout. We provide evidence that extraordinary economic measures introduced by the central government to compensate workers can explain this rally "round the flag" effect.

Keywords: COVID-19, Elections, Voting behaviour, Vote share

JEL Classification: D70, D72, D91

Suggested Citation

Bordignon, Massimo and Franzoni, Federico and Gamalerio, Matteo, Follow the Leader: The Electoral Effect of the COVID-19 Economic Lockdown (November 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3959102 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3959102

Massimo Bordignon

Universita Cattolica ( email )

20123 Milano
Italy
+39-2-5836-3300/1 (Phone)
+39-2-5836-3302 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Federico Franzoni (Contact Author)

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan - Graduate School in Public Economics (DEFAP) ( email )

Via Necchi 5
Milano, MI Milan 20123
Italy

Matteo Gamalerio

University of Barcelona - Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) ( email )

c/ Tinent Coronel Valenzuela, 1-11
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

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