Are Simultaneously Decided Referenda Substitutable? Evidence from Municipal Land Use Ballot Measures

Matthew Gammans, James N. Sanchirico, Kailin Kroetz, Paul R. Armsworth and Elaine W. Swiedler


The results of ballot referenda have often been used to infer the preferences of voters for various types of policy. However, voters may be influenced by the appearance of competing ballot referenda. We propose a simple theoretical framework for considering the substitutability or complementarity of various land use policies and apply this framework to a novel dataset of 603 land-related municipal ballot measures in California. We find that the appearance of a competing anti-growth measure decreases support for other anti-growth measures, while the appearance of pro-growth measures do not affect the likelihood of passage for anti-growth or pro-growth measures.


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