“Measuring Attitudes towards Public Spending using a Multivariate Tax Summary Experiment,” Benjamin Lauderdale, University College London

Event time: 
Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
Institution for Social and Policy Studies (PROS77 ), A002 See map
77 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 


Abstract: It is difficult to measure public views on tradeoffs between spending priorities because public understanding of existing levels of expenditure is limited and the budgetary problem is complicated. We present a new measurement strategy using UK taxpayer summaries as the baseline for a continuous treatment, multivariate choice experiment. The experiment proposes deficit neutral bundles of changes in spending and taxation, allowing us to investigate public attitudes towards modifications to the existing budget. We then use a structural choice model to translate these data into estimates of public preferences over 13 spending categories and the overall taxation level, on average and as a function of attributes of citizens. We find that on average the UK public favours large spending increases across major budget categories at the price of paying more in tax; that public preferences over spending are multidimensional; and that younger people prefer lower levels of taxation and spending than older people. Finally, we report a pre-registered out-of-sample validation of the estimates from the main experiment.

Benjamin Lauderdale is a Professor of Political Science at University College London. From 2011-2018, he was on the faculty at the London School of Economics. He is also currently an Associate Editor of the American Political Science Review (2016-2020) and a Senior Data Science Advisor to YouGov. His research is focused on the measurement of political preferences from survey, voting, network and text data. Applications of these methods have included citizens, legislators and judges in the US, UK and EU.

This workshop series is being sponsored by the ISPS Center for the Study of American Politics and The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale with support from the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund.

This workshop is open to Yale faculty, students, and professional staff only.

Open to: 
General Public