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Social Science and Public Policy

“Does Where You Live Shape How You Vote?”

February 29, 2024 at 3:30pm5:00pm

Eggers Hall, 060

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Christopher Berry, William J. and Alicia Townsend Friedman Professor, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago will present “Does Where You Live Shape How You Vote?” as part of the CPR Seminar Series.

Abstract: Scholars have long been concerned with the effects of residential context on individuals’ life chances and political outcomes. But attempts to provide evidence of the causal effects of neighborhoods are hampered by a severe selection problem. Observed neighborhood characteristics may be correlated with unobserved individual characteristics which drive the outcome of interest. Understanding the extent to which the correlation between local context and individual outcomes is driven by the influence of the context on the individual or the choice of individuals with certain characteristics to live in certain locations—that is, how much of the correlation is due to treatment vs. selection—is important for understanding the generation of political ideology, partisan identity, and democratic participation. In this paper, we leverage unique data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health Survey to analyze the relationship between local context and individual political views and participation for respondents who move from one location to another versus those who stay in the same location. We explore the role of both treatment and selection in the development of political ideology and propensity to participate in politics and offer evidence of both pathways. 

This event was first published on November 9, 2023 and last updated on December 14, 2023.

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