The Electoral Impact of Wealth Redistribution: Evidence from the Italian Land Reform

106 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021

See all articles by Bruno Caprettini

Bruno Caprettini

University of Zurich

Lorenzo Casaburi

University of Zurich; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Miriam Venturini

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 1, 2021

Abstract

Governments often implement large-scale redistribution policies to gain enduring political support. However, little is known on whether such policies generate sizable gains, whether these gains are persistent, and why. We study the political consequences of a major land reform in Italy. A panel spatial regression discontinuity design shows that the reform generated large electoral gains for the incumbent Christian Democratic party, and similarly large losses for the Communist party. The electoral effects persist over four decades. Farmers' grassroots organizations and continued political investment in reform areas (i.e. fiscal transfers and public sector employment) are plausible mechanisms for this persistence. We find less support for other potential explanations, including migration, voters' beliefs, and patterns of economic development.

JEL Classification: D72, N54, P16, Q15

Suggested Citation

Caprettini, Bruno and Casaburi, Lorenzo and Venturini, Miriam, The Electoral Impact of Wealth Redistribution: Evidence from the Italian Land Reform (January 1, 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15679, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3783894

Bruno Caprettini (Contact Author)

University of Zurich ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

Lorenzo Casaburi

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Miriam Venturini

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

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