How does exposure to risk shape individual preferences for an expanded state? I examine this question in the context of climate change-related risk. Using variation in California wildfire activity, I show neighborhoods experiencing large fires increase support by 0.8 percentage points for ballot initiatives which expand the size of government and by 2.4 percentage points for ballot initiatives endorsed by pro-environment interest groups. The effect is stronger in Republican areas and is not driven by shifts in voter registration or turnout, suggesting the mechanism acts through changes in individual preferences rather than compositional changes in the electorate.
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© 2023 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology