Shaping the Nation: The Effect of Fourth of July on Political Preferences and Behavior in the United States

50 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2012 Last revised: 12 Dec 2012

See all articles by David Yanagizawa-Drott

David Yanagizawa-Drott

University of Zurich

Andreas Madestam

Stockholm University, Department of Economics

Date Written: November 1, 2011

Abstract

This paper examines whether social interactions and cultural practices affect political views and behavior in society. We investigate the issue by documenting a major social and cultural event at different stages in life: the Fourth of July celebrations in the United States during the 20th century. Using absence of rainfall as a proxy for participation in the event, we find that days without rain on Fourth of July in childhood shift adult views and voting in favor of the Republicans and increase turnout in presidential elections. The effects we estimate are highly persistent throughout life and originate in early age. Rain-free Fourth of Julys experienced as an adult also make it more likely that people identify as Republicans, but the effect depreciates substantially after a few years. Taken together, the evidence suggests that political views and behavior derive from social and cultural experience in early childhood, and that Fourth of July shapes the political landscape in the Unites States.

Suggested Citation

Yanagizawa-Drott, David and Madestam, Andreas, Shaping the Nation: The Effect of Fourth of July on Political Preferences and Behavior in the United States (November 1, 2011). HKS Working Paper No. RWP12-034, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2098048 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2098048

David Yanagizawa-Drott (Contact Author)

University of Zurich ( email )

Schönberggasse 1
Zürich, MA ZH 8001
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://Econ.uzh.ch

Andreas Madestam

Stockholm University, Department of Economics ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.ne.su.se/andreasmadestam

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
109
Abstract Views
1,079
rank
307,416
PlumX Metrics