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Places and Preferences: A Longitudinal Analysis of Self-Selection and Contextual Effects

  • Aina Gallego, Franz Buscha, Patrick Sturgis and Daniel Oberski
Abstract

Contextual theories of political behaviour assert that the contexts in which people live influence their political beliefs and vote choices. Most studies, however, fail to distinguish contextual influence from self-selection of individuals into areas. This article advances understanding of this controversy by tracking the left–right position and party identification of thousands of individuals over an eighteen-year period in England before and after residential moves across areas with different political orientations. There is evidence of both non-random selection into areas and assimilation of new entrants to the majority political orientation. These effects are contingent on the type of area an individual moves into and contextual effects are weak and dominated by the larger effect of self-selection into areas.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Gallego: Institut de Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (email: agallego@ibei.org); Buscha: Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods, University of Westminster (email: buscha@westminster.ac.uk); Sturgis: Department of Social Statistics and Demography, University of Southampton (email: p.sturgis@soton.ac.uk); Oberski: Methodology Department, Tilburg University (email: d.l.oberski@tilburguniversity.edu). The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Economic and Social Research Council through the grant for the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM; grant reference: RES-576-47-5001-01) and from the Marie Curie Actions of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under REA grant agreement no. 334054 (PCIG12-GA-2012-334054). The code utilized to produce the results is posted in the BJPS repository. Data replication sets and online appendices are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi: 10.1017/S0007123414000337.

The British Household Panel Study, however, does not allow dissemination of the micro-data.

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References
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