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Discussion Paper Details

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

Author(s): Bruno Caprettini, Lorenzo Casaburi and Miriam Venturini

Publication Date: January 2021

Keyword(s): Italy, Land reform, redistribution and voting

Programme Area(s): Economic History and Public Economics

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.

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Bibliographic Reference

Caprettini, B, Casaburi, L and Venturini, M. 2021. 'The Electoral Impact of Wealth Redistribution: Evidence from the Italian Land Reform'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research. https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15679