Age and Vote Choice: Is There a Conservative Shift among Older Voters?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonElectoral Studies: an international journal on voting and electoral systems and strategy. 2022, 78 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2022.102485
Ageing is often believed to induce a movement towards the right of the political spectrum. Yet, empirical evidence remains inconclusive due to a dearth of longitudinal datasets covering multiple cohorts. Using eleven rotating panels of the Norwegian Election Studies (1977–2017) and exploiting first-derivative properties of the vote choice function, our empirical approach identifies non-linear life-cycle effects while controlling for cohort and period effects. Our main findings indicate that shifting towards the left is more likely among the young (under 40 years) whereas shifting towards the right occurs at an older age (over 55 years). Evaluating potential mechanisms, we find that individuals’ income, retirement, family status and political interest explain only a small part of the observed ageing effect. Life-cycle shifts in (some) policy preferences may play a bigger role. Finally, aging effects are similar across women and men, and only marginally stronger among groups with lower education and income levels.