Direct Democracy in America: How Voters Reason About Economic Policy
AuthorVilá-Henninger, Luis Antonio
AdvisorSallaz, Jeffrey J.
Zavisca, Jane R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 24-Aug-2019
AbstractHow do voters navigate the intersection between democracy and capitalism? Citizens have the opportunity to directly decide upon policies that shape their state's economy through market regulatory ballot measures; however, the role of voters in this key intersection and policy making-mechanism has been largely overlooked. Models of reasoning and decision-making in the voting literature have primarily developed from rational choice theory. These models identify conditions under which self-interest and partisanship influence voter choice and policy attitude formation. To extend this literature to voter reasoning on market regulatory measures, I examined how variation in voter choice and reasoning corresponded with variation in social indicators of self-interest and partisanship, both of which are foundational individual-level processes for capitalism and democracy, respectively. In order to carry out this analysis I conducted semi-structured interviews with 120 respondents about how they voted on four market regulatory ballot measures that appeared on the Arizona state ballot from 2008-2012 related to narcotic decriminalization and medicalization, education funding, immigration and labor markets, and consumer protection. Drawing from contemporary models of voter reasoning, I selected self-interest and partisanship as independent variables for this analysis and then examined how variation in these variables corresponded with variation in voter choice. I subsequently used my qualitative data to investigate how voters used narratives of self-interest and partisan values to reason about these four market regulatory ballot measures. I supplemented my qualitative analysis by investigating voter use of beliefs from non-partisan economic philosophies in their reasoning on these measures. To my knowledge, voter reasoning related to market regulatory ballot measures has yet to be studied and therefore my analysis required holding key factors (such as gender, race, and ethnicity) constant in order to limit sources of variation in voter choice and reasoning.
Degree ProgramGraduate College