Erik Lindqvist, Stockholm University

The Causal Effects of Wealth on Political Participation and Political Preferences


We test whether random, positive wealth shocks in the form of lottery prizes induce changes in political participation and political preferences. We find no effects on participation: Compared to suitably matched controls, large-prize winners are no more likely to cast votes in national elections or run for political office, nor are their children. But preferences change, in the sense that lottery winners become more negative toward taxes on wealth, real estate and inheritances. Consistent with material self-interest in influencing preferences, these effects diminish over time as lottery wealth dissipates. Effects on other political preferences are statistically insignificant, though they often go in the direction of a more right-wing political orientation. We find no evidence that lottery wealth changes moral values or strengthen beliefs in the importance of hard work for success in life.

You can read the research paper here

Erik Lindqvist is a Professor of Economics at the Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) at Stockholm University. His research focuses on issues in labor economics and related fields.

In particular, he uses data on lottery winners to assess the causal impacts of wealth shocks on outcomes such as health, child development, labor supply, subjective well-being, and financial choices. Another line of his research investigates how human capital and skills affect labor market outcomes.

You can read more about Erik Lindqvist here

CEBI contact: Søren Leth-Petersen