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Development Ballot Measures, Interest Group Endorsements, and the Political Geography of Growth Preferences

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In response to rapid population and economic growth, many communities have turned to voter initiatives to resolve their land use disputes. We find that despite strong public concern about growth, voters often support measures that allow or encourage new development. We consider the sources of this support by analyzing patterns of voting on a range of prodevelopment ballot initiatives. These initiatives provide a valuable opportunity to understand how economic self-interest, geography, interest group endorsements, and public goods affect citizen support for development policies. We find that interest group endorsements significantly increase public support for new development. These endorsements help voters evaluate the personal impact of complex development proposals and allow voters to behave in ways that reflect a high degree of sophistication.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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