Date of Original Version
Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
State and local governments put hundreds of referendums on the ballot each year. Often, they pass but sometimes they fail. What happens after a successful or failed attempt at the ballot box? Do advocates go back to voters with another request? And if they do, do they tend to succeed? We employ a regression discontinuity empirical framework to causally estimate referendum dynamics in the arena of land conservation. Our results suggest municipalities where a referendum just barely fails hold about 0.5 more referendums and pass about 0.28 more referendums than municipalities that just barely pass, meaning initial defeat is often reversed. We also investigate whether strategic changes are made in election approaches for those that try again. We find no evidence of systematic patterns in strategic revisions for municipalities that fail their first referendum. However, when revisions are made, our evidence suggests that voters appear to respond positively.
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
Journal of Public Policy
Gill, C., Lang, C., & Pearson-Merkowitz, S. (2023). The aftermath of ballot box success and failure: evidence from land preservation referendums. Journal of Public Policy, 43(4), 659–680. doi:10.1017/S0143814X23000119 Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0143814X23000119
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