Religion and redistributive voting in Western Europe
Why some individuals, who would clearly benefit from redistribution, do not vote for parties offering redistributive policies is an old puzzle of redistributive politics. Recent work in political economy offers an explanation based on the interplay between religious identity and party policies. Strategic parties bundle conservative moral policies with anti-redistribution positions inducing individuals with a strong religious identity to vote based on moral rather than economic preferences. I test this theory using microlevel data on individuals' vote choices in 24 recent multiparty elections in 15 Western European countries. I use an integrated model of religion, economic and moral preferences, and vote choice to show that religious individuals possess less liberal economic preferences, which shapes their vote choice against redistributive parties. This holds even for individuals who would clearly benefit from redistribution. Moreover, the redistributive vote of religious individuals is primarily based on economic not moral preferences. © Southern Political Science Association 2013.
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