Growth Models and the Preferences of Left Voters

Erik Neimanns and Lucio Baccaro

Theoretical considerations suggest that export-led growth is facilitated by workers' wage moderation and conservative fiscal policies. However, these functional requirements of export-led growth may conflict with the preferences of left voters, whose income depends significantly on wage income and public transfers. How is the tension between the functional requirements of the growth model and the preferences of voters resolved? Are the preferences of left voters at odds with an export-led growth model, or do they adapt to the functional requirements of export-led growth and internalize the competitiveness constraints? Based on an analysis of data from several waves of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), combined with country-level data, we argue that the preferences of left voters and right voters with regard to wage policy and public expenditure tend to converge because left voters become more economically conservative the more the growth model is export-led. This suggests that export-led growth creates its own supporting attitudinal preconditions. The project contributes to the recent literature on the politics of growth models, particularly of export-led growth. Project duration: October 2020 to September 2022.

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