Steven Bednar presents at the American Political Science Association's annual meeting
Steven Bednar, assistant professor of economics, recently presented "Cognitive Ability and Voting: How Salt Influenced Elections in the 20th Century".
Here is an abstract of the paper:
Do early-life health interventions have spillovers into politics? We test the effect of an exogenous shift to the left tail of the cognitive ability distribution on voting behavior. The rapid adoption of iodized salt nearly eliminated in utero iodine deficiency in the U.S., an impairment that is medically linked to decreased intelligence. Geographic variation in naturally occurring iodine levels before salt iodization allows us to identify the impact of changes in cognitive ability on whether and how people vote. We find that as iodine deficiency levels decrease, turnout for candidates from the Democratic Party increase leading to a greater share of the House of Representatives and more liberal congressmen.