Essays in Political Economy and Economic Sociology

Abstract: This thesis consists of four self-contained papers within political economy and economic sociology. The first paper studies how the 2015 refugee wave impacted the vote share of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) during the 2018 Swedish parliamentary elections. I find that while there is an overall positive effect of immigration on the SD votes, the magnitude of the effect differs considerably depending on pre-influx municipal characteristics. In the second paper, I study how releases of radioactive fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident affected environmentalist voting in subsequent elections in Sweden. The results show that in municipalities affected by fallout, green voting increased. The Chernobyl premium om the green vote remained for around one decade after the accident. Detailed-individual level survey data suggests that opposition to nuclear power increased in affected areas after the accident. The third paper examines how implementing blended learning at university affects grade outcomes when compared to online and campus teaching. The results show that female students with affluent parents were the relative winners of blended learning, both compared to other groups who were subject to blended learning, but also compared to their own performance when all teaching is on campus. Survey data suggests that this group of students have broader social networks, which facilitates communication with peers and improves grades. In the fourth paper, I analyze how the academic performance of university students is affected by their own and their peers' socioeconomic status and beauty. The results suggest that a student's own socioeconomic status and beauty affect grades positively, and that these traits in peers also have a positive impact on grades. For the peer effects, I provide evidence for both a direct spillover channel, and for an indirect channel according to which peer beauty improves well-being among students.