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A Cross-National Analysis of Economic Voting: Taking Account of the Political Context

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... However, our research is mainly inspired by the recent literature on public responsibility attributions (PRA) in domestic and international governance systems ( Alcaniz and Hellwig, 2011;Anderson, 2000;Arcenaux, 2006;Arceneaux and Stein, 3 2006; Hobolt and Tilley, 2014;Hobolt, Tilley and Banducci, 2013;Powell and Whitten, 1993;Schwarzenbeck, 2015). Drawing on insights from this literature, we distinguish between two factors shaping responsibility attributions in the general public. ...
... This is because in many organizations the distribution of policy-making authority is complex. According to this approach the general public often lacks knowledge about how policy-making authority is distributed to attribute responsibility 'correctly' (Cutler, 2004;Hobolt and Tilley, 2014;Hobolt, Tilley and Banducci, 2013;Powell and Whitten, 1993). ...
... The literature on responsibility attribution distinguishes among several factors that affect attribution behavior. While a large number of contributions highlight attributes of decision-makers (such as an actor's image, or membership to a particular group) to account for PRA (see, for example, Hobolt and Tilley, 2014;Malhotra and Kuo, 2008;Marsh and Tilley, 2010;Rudolph, 2003Rudolph, , 2006Tilley and Hobolt, 2011), our work ties in with those contributions emphasizing the importance of the institutional setting for attributing responsibility for policy decisions (see, for example, Anderson, 2000;Arcenaux, 2006;Arceneaux and Stein, 2006;Cutler, 2004Cutler, , 2008Gerhards, Roose and Offerhaus, 2013;Mortensen, 2013;Powell and Whitten, 1993;Rudolph, 2003;Schwarzenbeck, 2015). Both, the authority and the complexity-hypotheses discussed below assume that the institutional setting for policy-making shapes political actors' opportunities for blame avoidance and credit claiming. ...
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Who is held publicly responsible for the policies of international institutions? Are member states or supranational bodies held responsible or are public responsibility attributions (PRA) untargeted? We argue that in complex policy-making systems responsibility tends to be attributed to implementing actors. When, however, a policy does not require active implementation, we expect responsibility attributions to be untargeted. To test these expectations, we analyze PRA in the European public for three EU migration policies: (1) border control policies, (2) the distribution of refugees according to the ‘Dublin’-system, and (3) so-called welfare migration facilitated by the ‘freedom of movement’ principle. Our analysis corroborates that PRA reflect the structure of policy implementation: (1) PRA for EU border controls target the EU; (2) PRA for the distribution of refugees target member states; (3) PRA for welfare migration are untargeted. The paper thus highlights an accountability gap for policies that do not require implementation.
... titutions have played in shaping member states responses to the GFC, there is merit in reassessing its impact in these circumstances. We develop a set of expectations about how the economy influenced vote choice in the 2009 and 2014 EP elections. In line with previous scholarship which has highlighted the importance of context (e.g. Anderson, 2000; Powell Jnr. & Whitten, 1993; Whitten & Palmer, 1999 ), we argue the impact of economy on vote is heterogeneous across both elections and countries. We expect that in 2009 economic perceptions directly influenced vote as the poll took place as the GFC was taking root and the effects were only becoming obvious. It also offered the first opportunity for most European ...
... in dealing with the fallout from the Crisis. Given these circumstances, it can be expected the economy might have influenced vote choice to a greater extent in 2009 and 2014. But how might the economy have shaped vote in 2009 and 2014? An abundance of research has previously demonstrated that context conditions economic voting (e.g. Anderson, 2000; Powell Jnr. & Whitten, 1993 ). We suppose context will also mediate the impact of economy in EP elections too and that its influence will vary across both elections and countries. Let us first take the differences between 2009 and 2014 polls. We suspect economic perceptions will have directly influenced vote in 2009 considering that the Crisis was still evolving, ...
... rceptions to matter, we expect voters will take a wider view and incorporate how responsible they felt the government to be for the economic circumstances in 2014. A large literature has highlighted that ascriptions of responsibility matter (e.g. de Vries, Edwards, & Tilman, 2011; Hellwig & Coffey, 2011; Hobolt & Tilley, 2014; Marsh & Tilley, 2009; Powell Jnr. & Whitten, 1993). We contend responsibility attribution matters in 2014 because voters will have had time to absorb the shock of the GFC, and having already dismissed many governments in power at the time of the GFC, evaluations of new governments' handling of the 2 While the active phase of the GFC can be dated to early 2007, September 2008 remains an ...
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Using the 2009 and 2014 European Election Studies (EES), we explore the effect of the economy on the vote in the 2009 and 2014 European Parliament (EP) elections. The paper demonstrates that the economy did influence voters in both contests. However, its impact was heterogeneous across the two elections and between countries. While assessments of the economy directly motivated voters in 2009 by 2014 economic appraisals were conditioned by how much responsibility voters felt the national government had for the state of the economy, implying a shift in calculus between the two elections. The analysis suggests that voters in 2009 were simply reacting to the economic tsunami that was the Global Financial Crisis, with motivations primarily driven by the unfavourable economic conditions countries faced. But in 2014, evaluations were conditioned by judgments about responsibility for the economy, suggesting a more conscious holding to account of the government. Our paper also reveals cross-country differences in the influence of the economy on vote. Attribution of responsibility and economic evaluations had a more potent impact on support for the government in bailout countries compared to non-bailout countries in 2014. Our findings demonstrate the importance of economy on vote in EP elections but also highlight how its impact on vote can vary based on context.
... In this article, we argue that this process is made more difficult when parties have to govern in coalitions. Following the clarity of responsibility thesis (e.g., Powell & Whitten 1993; Whitten C 2016 European Consortium for Political Research & Palmer 1999 Fisher & Hobolt 2010; Hobolt et al. 2013), we argue that voters are less able to recognise parties' left-right positions in coalition governments as compared to singleparty governments. Research on government formation in parliamentary systems has demonstrated that there is a clear relationship between ideology and the probability of parties governing together. ...
... Because of the principle of collective responsibility in coalition governments, the lines of responsibility become blurred as voters cannot attribute the responsibility for policy decisions to a specific coalition party. Accordingly, numerous scholars have shown that multiparty cabinets weaken the clarity of responsibility in governments (e.g., Powell & Whitten 1993; Whitten & Palmer 1999; Nadeau et al. 2002). Similarly, Dahlberg (2013) finds that voters are less able to identify the positions of governing parties. ...
... To shed light on how coalition governments affect party perception, this model is based on a sample that only includes voters' evaluations of coalition parties. Model 1 confirms the findings of the previous literature on the clarity of responsibility in coalition governments (e.g., Powell & Whitten 1993; Fisher & Hobolt 2010; Hobolt et al. 2013; Fortunato & Stevenson 2013). Following the expectations in our first hypothesis, parties that govern with at least one other partner suffer from higher misperception among voters than parties governing in single-party governments. ...
Article
Does governing in coalitions affect how coalition parties’ policy positions are perceived by voters? In this article, we seek to understand the relationship between parties’ participation in coalition governments and their perception by voters. Policy positions are an important instrument through which parties compete for the support of voters. However, it is unclear to what extent voters can correctly perceive the positions of parties when they govern together with other coalition partners. We argue that because of the blurred lines of responsibility in multiparty cabinets, it is difficult for voters to correctly perceive the positions of coalition parties. What is more, we expect that the internal functioning of coalition cabinets affects the extent to which coalition parties struggle to get their message out to voters. We hypothesize that intra-cabinet conflict is negatively related to misperception. To test our theoretical expectations, we combine data on the left-right policy positions of political parties from the Comparative Manifestos Project with data on how these positions are perceived by voters gathered from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems from 1996-2011. Our findings shed light on the relationship between party competition and coalition governments and its implications for political representation.
... Accordingly, a substantial literature has investigated the policy foci and time horizons that guide voters' decisions. Almost without exception, the literature on electoral accountability examines voters facing a binary choice between either supporting the incumbent or not (e.g.Fiorina 1981;Berry and Howell 2007), mostly focused on the economic performance of government (e.g.Paldam 1991;Powell and Whitten 1993;Anderson 2007). This focus stems from the notion that evaluations of policy-making are restricted to parties in government (Duch and Stevenson 2008). ...
... Clearly, however, other parties influence policy-making and, in many contexts, (e.g. federal systems and minority governments), this influence is substantial (Strøm 1990;Powell and Whitten 1993;Lijphart 1999). Therefore, voters' beliefs should reflect this wider notion of responsibility at the party level (Duch and Stevenson 2008;Duch and Falcó-Gimeno 2014). ...
... For another, in many contexts (e.g. federal systems and minority governments), the influence of parties out of government on policy-making is substantial where the responsibility attribution is less clear-cut between government and opposition parties and controversial policy decision can only be made in cooperation with the opposition (Strøm 1990;Powell and Whitten 1993;Lijphart 1999). It is therefore likely that voters are aware of and use this wider notion of responsibility when choosing parties in elections (Anderson 2000Duch and FalcóGimeno 2014). ...
Article
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Retrospective voting is arguably one of the most important mechanisms of representative democracy, and whether or not the public holds the government accountable for its policy performance has been extensively studied. In this paper, we test whether retrospective voting extends to parties in the opposition, that is whether and how parties’ past performance evaluations affect their vote, regardless of whether they were in government or in opposition. Taking advantage of a rich set of questions embedded in a representative German national elections panel, we update our knowledge on the retrospective voting mechanism by modeling retrospective voting at the party level. The findings indicate that the incumbent status is not the only criterion for retrospective voting, ultimately suggesting that both government and opposition parties can expect credit and blame for their conduct and this should provide some impetus for responsive performance of all parties.
... First, due to their established importance as forerunners of incumbent voting in the economic voting literature (e.g. Powell andWhitten 1993;Wilkin et al. 1997) and the possible relationship between economic conditions and militarized conflict, we use unemployment and economic growth to account for economic conditions at the election level. We measure unemployment as the percentage of the workforce seeking a job in the year of the election, and economic growth is measured as the percentage change in the size of the economy in the year of the election relative to the preceding year. ...
... The effects of prominent variables known to affect incumbent voting, unemployment and economic growth (e.g.Powell and Whitten 1993;Wilkin et al. 1997), can be assessed relative the effects of MIDs. There is about a one percentage point decrease in the probability of voting for the incumbent associated with a standard deviation increase in the unemployment rate and about a three percentage point increase in the probability of voting for the incumbent associated with a standard deviation increase in the economic growth rate. ...
... First, due to their established importance as forerunners of incumbent voting in the economic voting literature (e.g. Powell and Whitten 1993;Wilkin et al. 1997) and the possible relationship between economic conditions and militarized conflict, we use unemployment and economic growth to account for economic conditions at the election level. We measure unemployment as the percentage of the workforce seeking a job in the year of the election, and economic growth is measured as the percentage change in the size of the economy in the year of the election relative to the preceding year. ...
Article
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Comparative politics scholarship often neglects to consider how militarized interstate disputes (MIDs) shape political behavior. In this project, we advance an argument that considers voter responses to international conflict at the individual level. In particular, we consider how the well-known conditioning effects of partisanship manifest in relation to militarized international conflict. Examining individual- and macro-level data across 97 elections in 42 countries over the 1996-2011 period, we find consistent evidence of militarized conflict impacting vote choice. This relationship is, however, moderated by partisanship, conflict side (initiator or target), and conflict hostility level. Among non-copartisan voters, the incumbent benefits the most electorally from initiating low-hostility MIDs or when the country is a target of a high-hostility MID; the opposite scenarios (target of a low-hostility MID or initiator of a high-hostility MID) lead to punishment among this voter group. Copartisans, meanwhile, tend to either maintain or intensify their support in most scenarios we examine; when a country is targeted in a low-hostility MID, copartisan support erodes mildly.
... On the other hand, there is evidence that in the increasingly interwoven world economic voting is becoming less pronounced. The sanctioning appears stronger when responsibility is relatively easy to apportion (Powell and Whitten 1993), but as national economies become more interlinked and interdependent, the capacity of national governments to shape macroeconomic outcomes diminishes. Especially in the European Union (EU), the world's largest single market, national economic policies are closely coordinated to support stability and growth. ...
... This is known in the economic voting literature as the clientele hypothesis. Building on a similar logic but in a reverse direction, Powell and Whitten (1993) proposed the saliency hypothesis and argue that governments are instead punished for the most salient issue. For example, voters expect left-wing governments to be more competent in reducing the unemployment level and, judging their performance in the office, hold them responsible when unemployment increases. ...
... A more extensive line of work focuses on constraints on government economic capability. We know from previous work that responsibility attribution is blurred when the clarity of which actors bear responsibility is low (Powell and Whitten 1993). Although numerous studies have focused on domestic and institutional aspects of this argument, a growing strand of literature explores external constraints on government responsibility for economic outcomes. ...
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Academic research lends significant support to the expectation that there is a strong link between the economy and election outcomes. Voters hold incumbents responsible for the national economy: public support for governing parties drops when the economy performs poorly and increases when the economy grows. However, not all elections are determined by the economy. Economic voting is found often, but not always and not everywhere, and it remains unclear why that is. The recent financial and economic crisis has further accentuated the concerns as to the instability of economic voting. The majority of Western countries experienced steep recession, which should lead to major political consequences. Indeed, a number of governing parties witnessed landslide electoral defeat, but on several other occasions incumbents managed to maintain their position despite the unprecedented economic turmoil. The instability in economic voting was the main motivation for writing this dissertation. If the link between economic conditions and elections does not exist, then voters’ ability to assign responsibility for economic outcomes is limited, and this leaves leaders free to pursue whatever policies they please irrespective of their public consequences. However, when the mechanism of democratic accountability is in good health, then citizens maintain their ability to participate in the process of decision-making and help determine national policy. The dissertation addressed economic voting from three different aspects. Firstly, it tested the overall strength of the link between the economy and political support. The analysis, which relied on an extensive dataset of surveys across nations and over time, demonstrated, that economic considerations have a strong effect on incumbent support. Citizens regularly observe national economic outcomes and shape their electoral decisions accordingly. Secondly, the work examined the performance of economic voting in Europe in the wake of the financial and economic crisis. The findings show that the statistical relationship between the economy and voting remained remarkably constant, even after the most dramatic economic recession in our lifetime, suggesting that the economic voting mechanism is largely immune to external shocks. Finally, the dissertation revealed a new dimension of economic voting by shifting the focus onto national economic policies. Citizens paid more attention to national fiscal policies after the crisis than they did before, and on many occasions held incumbents responsible for painful austerity programs. In fact, economic policies have emerged as one of the key predictors of individual vote choice next to more conventional determinants, revealing the new and multidimensional face of economic voting.
... For example, direct experience with corruption might often involve petty bureaucracy, such as being asked for a bribe by a policeman, and people may not always be able to attribute this behavior to the elected public officials who enable it (Abramo 2008, Klašnja et al. 2016).Tavits (2007)suggests that institutional clarity of responsibility matters for the ability of voters to hold officials accountable for corruption (for a more comprehensive discussion and examination of this relationship, see SchwindtBayer & Tavits 2016). The concept of clarity of responsibility is widely used in the literature on economic voting to explain its variation across contexts (Powell & Whitten 1993, Anderson 2000, De Vries et al. 2010). The basic contention is that political systems that diffuse power among multiple actors (parties in particular) obscure lines of responsibility, making it difficult for voters to evaluate and sanction the government in power for economic performance.Tavits (2007)shows that the same mechanism can be applied to the question of corruption in a sample of OECD and Eastern European democracies. ...
... Studies on retrospective voting have gone a long way in unpacking the black box of attribution. Work has focused on individual-level factors, such as group-serving biases (e.g.,Rudolph 2006, Malhotra & Kuo 2008), citizens' (in)ability to benchmark (Kayser & Peress 2012), and excessive weighing of recent events (Healy & Lenz 2014), as well as contextual factors, such as institutional context or vertical and horizontal clarity of responsibility (e.g.,Powell & Whitten 1993, Whitten & Palmer 1999). It seems reasonable to accept that these factors also condition retrospective voting based on corruption. ...
Article
Democratic elections have been assumed to play a crucial role in curbing corruption among public officials. Voters, due to their general distaste for corruption, are expected to sanction politicians who misuse public office for private gains. Yet, empirical evidence to date is mixed, and it often suggests that the electoral punishment of corruption is rather mild. Recently, political scientists have made great strides in understanding why corruption might be tolerated by voters. In this review, we identify three key stages—information acquisition, blame attribution, and behavioral response—that underlie a retrospective vote based on corruption. A breakdown of one or more of these stages may lead to a lack of electoral punishment of corruption. We also outline some areas for future progress, particularly highlighting the importance of voter coordination for understanding the extent to which corruption is punished at the ballot box.
... We focus on coalition parties in cabinets at the time of the next election using data obtained from the Parlgov data set (Döring and Manow, 2012 ). Just as voters are often retrospective (Fiorina, 1981; Kiewiet and Rivers, 1984; Powell and Whitten, 1993 ), we argue that parties also act retrospectively . Adams and Topcu (2009), for example, have shown that parties gain votes in the current election when they have moderated their positions in the previous election, thus demonstrating that there is a lagged effect of responsiveness. ...
... Third, future research should examine whether participation in coalition governments equally affects party responsiveness with regard to issue positions. Finally, given that the clarity of responsibility (Powell and Whitten, 1993) may be blurred in coalition governments, it will be important to investigate to what extent shifts in issue attention and issue positions by coalition parties are actually recognized by voters. ...
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How does governing in coalitions affect coalition parties’ responsiveness to voters? In this article, we seek to understand the relationship between political parties’ participation in multiparty governments and their responsiveness to voters. We argue that the extent to which coalition parties respond to policy priorities of voters is influenced by the divisiveness of policy issues within the cabinet and the ministerial responsibility for policies. To test our hypotheses, we combine data on the issue attention of 55 coalition parties from the Comparative Manifestos Project with data on government composition and data on the policy priorities of voters from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems and various election studies in 45 elections across 16 European countries from 1972 to 2011. While we find that intra-cabinet divisiveness decreases coalition parties’ responsiveness, we find no effect for portfolio responsibility. Our findings shed light on the relationship between party competition and coalition governments and its implications for political representation.
... One noisy criterion voters might use to assess politicians' performance is salient government outcomes, such as the quality or level of public services (e.g., public schools). Problematically, however, such outcomes generally cannot be attributed to individual politicians' efforts; they commonly result from the actions and interactions of multiple actors in different government branches (legislators, bureaucrats, service providers) and often across multiple levels of government (national, subnational, local) (Powell & Whitten, 1993). Government outcomes could further be subject to positive or negative external shocks (e.g., financial crisis). ...
... Recall that while treated councilors secured a larger share of development spending in their constituencies, we do not find a similar effect for unannounced audits of service providers, arguably because public service delivery outcomes are a function of many actors' efforts. Such outcomes are thus a noisy signal of performance; they are difficult to attribute to individual elected officials, enabling politicians to assign blame to other agents (Powell & Whitten, 1993). By contrast, politicians' actions in their legally defined job duties are not only unambiguously attributable, but also provide—at least in our context—a strong incentive to affect development outcomes under their control. ...
Article
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Politicians regularly underperform in their job duties due to the obscurity of their actions to constituents. In this study, we investigate the effects of a local CSO's initiative to improve the transparency of politicians' performance in a multi-year field experiment involving 408 politicians in 20 Ugandan district governments between the 2011 and 2016 elections. The CSO assembled annual performance scorecards to rate how well politicians carried out their legally defined job duties, and presented them to all politicians in plenary sessions. For randomly-selected politicians, the scorecard was additionally disseminated to constituents for two mid-term years. We find that scorecard dissemination to citizens improved politicians' subsequent performance across a range of performance measures, but only in competitive constituencies. These findings suggest that, conditional on electoral pressure, performance transparency can improve politicians' performance between elections. Service delivery, affected by the performance of many diverse government actors other than politicians, was unaffected.
... On the other hand, there is evidence that in the increasingly interwoven world economic voting is becoming less pronounced. The sanctioning appears stronger when responsibility is relatively easy to apportion (Powell and Whitten, 1993), but as national economies become more interlinked and interdependent, the capacity of national governments to shape macroeconomic outcomes diminishes. In the European Union (EU), the world's largest single market, Member States' economic policy is considered 'a matter of common concern' (Article 121 TFEU). ...
... On the other hand, there are reasons to hypothesize that economic effects on political support have weakened with the crisis. Voters are more eager to punish incumbents when the clarity of responsibility for economic conditions is high (Powell and Whitten, 1993), but recent developments are sending signals to citizens that government economic performance is externally constrained. Globalization, growing economic integration, openness and interdependence have left voters confused assigning responsibility for national economic outcomes, and have consequently weakened the link between the economy and the vote (Katzenstein, 1985; Hellwig, 2001; Fernández-Albertos, 2006; Hellwig and Samuels, 2007; Kayser, 2007; Duch and Stevenson, 2010). ...
Article
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Recent voting behavior literature is concerned with the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis. During 2008–2009, most European countries faced a considerable slowdown in economic growth and an increase in unemployment levels. Theoretically, this would lead us to expect strong economic effects on incumbent support. However, recent academic work suggests that diminishing clarity of responsibility makes it increasingly difficult for voters to attribute blame for economic outcomes, consequently making punitive voting less likely. Has the sanctioning-rewarding mechanism then changed over time? Was economic voting more or less pronounced during the crisis than it was prior to the economic downturn? Analyzing the European Election Studies (EES) data for 12 Western European countries in 1989, 1994, 2004, 2009 and 2014, this paper finds support for neither proposition: there is very little abrupt change in economic effects over time. The statistical relationship between the economy and voting remained remarkably constant and was not subject to short-term fluctuations, even after the most dramatic economic recession in our lifetime. The stability of economic voting is particularly noteworthy considering that levels of voter dissatisfaction with national economic performance skyrocketed in 2009.
... Nevertheless, empirical results have shown this relationship to be far from simple, with many other factors conditioning the link between the economy and citizens' vote or support for the incumbent (Anderson, 2007). Some researchers suggest the importance of the country's political context as a contingent element in the relationship of the economy and voting behavior (Anderson, 2000;Hernández & Kriesi, 2016;Powell & Whitten, 1993;Singer, 2011). Others point out individual traits, such as political sophistication, as a relevant conditional factor (Alt et al., 2016;Gomez & Wilson, 2001, 2006. ...
... To evaluate this potential contingent effect, it is important to understand first some common assumptions that provide a theoretical base to the postulate of economic voting. First, voters must recognize incumbent leaders are responsible for the economic performance of the country (Duch & Stevenson, 2008;Powell & Whitten, 1993). Scholars have evaluated this assumption finding, for instance, that when executive leaders have little control over the effects of the world economy on the domestic economy, voters will not hold these leaders accountable (Carlin & Hellwig, 2020); and when the political and institutional context provides greater clarity of the role of the executive on the economic outputs, the influence of economic factors on executive approval increase (Selios, 2019). ...
Article
Many governments across Latin America have been unable to reduce stubbornly high levels of labor informality and the lack of legal and social protection put informal workers in a situation of continuous economic peril and uncertainty. This paper argues that the inherent characteristics and conditions of informal workers act as noisy signals that diminish the effect that economic perceptions have on evaluations of the incumbent executive across Latin American countries. The empirical results support the argument, suggesting that the effect of perceptions of the economy on evaluations of the incumbent is lower among informal relative to formal workers. Furthermore, this dynamic is prevalent in urban areas where there is a more evident differentiation between formal and informal workers, and disappears in rural areas, where both formal and informal workers face challenges that produce noisy signals and diminish the effect of perceptions of the economy on evaluations of the incumbent.
... Typically, the literature on how citizens evaluate government performance concentrates on citizens' general evaluations, such as how the state of the economy is perceived ( Kiewiet, 1983;Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier, 2000;Powell and Whitten, 1993;Samuels and Hellwig, 2010) or how well the welfare state functions ( Kumlin and StadelmannSteffen, 2014). Less attention has been dedicated to the type of evaluations that are the focus of this article; citizen's evaluations of specific government performance in the form of fulfilment of particular election pledges. ...
... One point of departure when formulating expectations on evaluations of specific election promises is that such evaluations are affected by factors similar to those affecting more general evaluations of government performance. Such factors emphasised in the vast literature on evaluation of government performance are actual government performance ( Fiorina, 1981;Hobolt et al., 2013;Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier, 2000;Powell and Whitten, 1993;Samuels and Hellwig, 2010), the individuals' attachment to specific parties ( Bartels, 2002;Duch et al., 2000;Johnston, 2006; Tilley and Hobolt, 2011), the individual's level of political awareness ( Bartels, 1996;Duch et al., 2000;Tilley et al., 2008) and his/her own experience of the policy ( Funk and Garcia-Monet, 1997;Kumlin, 2004Kumlin, , 2006). Another point of departure is that the relative importance of the mentioned factors will change when citizens are asked to evaluate very specific government performance, compared to when they are asked to evaluate general performance. ...
Article
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Democratic theories expect citizens to be able to accurately evaluate fulfilment of parties’ election pledges. We use specifically designed survey items from the Swedish National Election Study to compare citizens’ perceptions of the fulfilment of specific party pledges with actual fulfilment and assess circumstances that lead to correct evaluations. We find that political knowledge triumphs partisan attachments to incumbent parties when it comes to explaining why voters are correct. The results are interesting in light of common knowledge about the importance of partisan attachment in evaluations of general government performance: We argue that when specific election pledges are being evaluated, personal heuristics, such as attachments to incumbent parties, play a lesser role for judgements. Instead, the specificity embedded in the evaluation encourages citizens to engage in a more knowledge-based evaluation of whether pledges are fulfilled or not.
... Answers to this question have important political consequences. Effective democratic governance requires that citizens be able to identify and hold accountable those who make decisions that produce undesired outcomes (see, among many, McGraw, 1990; Peffley, 1984; Powell and Whitten, 1993; Rudolph, 2003). But allowing machines to make lethal decisions could create a 'responsibility gap' (Matthias, 2004), as it is not clear how such machines could be held accountable. ...
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Autonomous weapons would have the capacity to select and attack targets without direct human input. One important objection to the introduction of such weapons is that they will make it more difficult to identify and hold accountable those responsible for undesirable outcomes such as mission failures and civilian casualties. I hypothesize that individuals can modify their attribution of responsibility in predicable ways to accommodate this new technology. The results of a survey experiment are consistent with this; subjects continue to find responsible and hold accountable political and military leaders when autonomous weapons are used, but also attribute responsibility to the designers and programmers of such weapons.
... One of the most valuable contributions of this literature to our understanding of electoral choice is the finding that incentive-based electoral behavior is highly conditional: it matters more in certain contexts and for certain individuals. The first point is related to Franklin's argument about the character of elections but has a more specific focus: Research has shown consistently that economic voting is a forceful explanatory framework only in contexts of clearly attributable government responsibility (Powell & Whitten, 1993;van der Brug et al., 2007;Duch & Stevenson, 2008;3 The empirical evidence for the economic vote overall is somewhat inconclusive and effects are substantively small (Kayser & Peress, 2012;Kayser & Wlezien, 2010;Fraile & Lewis-Beck, 2014). Hobolt,Tilley & Banducci, 2012). ...
Article
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Existing studies on electoral turnout in times of economic crisis have predominantly focused on disadvantaged voters. However, during the recent economic crisis, turnout among highly educated citizens has strongly declined as well. Existing resource-based theories of political participation cannot account for this. This article suggests that the anticipation of government inefficacy is an important driver of abstention among highly educated. Where governments are severely constrained, these citizens anticipate that the hands of future governments will be tied. Hence they are more likely to abstain out of frustration or rational calculations. The study uses the recent economic crisis as test case, as it entails particularly acute constraints on several European governments. The cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence – based on ESS survey data and different measures of government constraint in 28 European countries – provides ample support for the argument.
... (Abramowitz 1985;Powell 1986;Rosema 2006), 지역구 사업능력 (Fenno 1978;Mayhew 1974;Stein and Bickers 1995) (Lijphart 1991;Powell 2000;Strøm 2008). 레이파트 (Lijphart 1991 (김용호 2000; 곽진영 2003; 임성호 2003; 정진 민 2003, 2004 ...
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This article presents a theoretical discussion about the legislative mechanism in a representative democracy. Based on this discussion, the article derives the variables affecting Korean National Assemblymen's legislative productivities, and analyses their effects on legislative productivities in the 16th and 17th National Assemblies. The empirical analyses show that National Assemblymen's valences such as academic, legal, governmental, and legislative backgrounds have nothing to do with their legislative productivities. Instead, the balance of power between parties, governing party membership, and other legislative factors affect National Assemblymen's productivities. These results offer an implication about the operation of representative democracy in Korea. Under the circumstance where citizens have difficulties in obtaining information about legislative activities, legislative recruitment based on representatives' valences could cause an agency problem. This article discusses institutional arrangements to alleviate the agency problem found in the National Assemblymen's legislative activities.
... One can assume that voters will punish more strongly single-party governments than multi-parties ones because the responsibility is clearer in those governments. In addition, coalition governments blur the responsibility of individual parties for whom the voter must vote and offer thus a possibility of vote switching within the government (Powell and Whitten, 1993). Bosch and Sollé-Ollé (2007) estimate another vote function. ...
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This paper aims at testing yardstick competition among the local jurisdictions of the Walloon Region (Southern part of Belgium) by directly testing its seminal hypothesis: yardstick voting. Actually the theory states that local incumbents are mimicking themselves because they fear punishment for implementing higher tax rates than in the neighbouring jurisdictions. Our research question is whether voters punish their incumbents for higher tax rates? We estimate different specifications of a vote function. None of them supports the yardstick voting hypothesis. One can thus exclude yardstick voting as a statistically supported behaviour of taxpayers. And we can exclude yardstick competition as a source of tax interactions in the Walloon region if yardstick voting is a testable hypothesis of yardstick competition. Indeed, if the tax rates of the neighbouring jurisdictions do not influence voters’ choices, incumbents do not have to fear an electoral punishment and then mimicking each other is meaningless.
... Research from the past two decades has provided an additional reason for why left-wing governments might tend to be more concerned about unemployment: electoral motivations stemming from issue ownership. At the ballot box, left-wing governments are often found to be penalized particularly harshly for unemployment (Powell and Whitten, 1993; Whitten and Palmer, 1999; van derBrug et al., 2007). Now, although I find Furåker's framework largely compelling, I contend that the most important determinant of whether a labor market program is meant to reduce unemployment or labor shortages is not the program's content but its targeting of people who are already participating in the labor market or those who are not. ...
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Comparative scholars fundamentally disagree about the impact of partisan politics in modern welfare states, particularly in certain ‘new’ policy areas such as active labor market policy (ALMP). Using new data on 900 ALMP programs across Europe, this study attempts to reconcile a long-standing dispute between the traditional ‘power resources’ approach and the ‘insider/outsider’ approach pioneered by Rueda. The study argues that both left-wing and right-wing governments invest in ALMP but that politics still matter because parties’ preferences regarding unemployment differ. The left is more inclined to expand programs primarily designed to reduce unemployment, which exclusively target ‘core’ groups in, or at risk of, unemployment, and programs in which participants are no longer counted among the unemployed. In contrast, both sides are equally prone to expand programs that also—or instead—target people who are not yet participating in the labor market, which thus also—or instead—serve to increase labor supply.
... Economic voting is not uniform, it varies across time and countries and is influenced by a wide range of factors. The political and economic variables which influence the way in which voters assign responsibility for economic conditions have been the subject of considerable investigation (Powell and Whitten, 1993;Duch and Stevenson, 2008;Duch and Stevenson, 2013;Fortunato and Stevenson, 2013). Arguing that economic voting is a conditional law rather than a universal one, Duch and Stevenson (2008) identified three sets of factors central to understanding variations in economic voting across countries and time; political control of the economy, concentration and distribution of policy making responsibility over parties and the pattern of contention among parties for future decision making. ...
Article
The global economic crisis presents new challenges for economic voting models. While there is a consensus that economic voting exists, even the most ardent supporters agree that it is a variable force and can only explain a portion of voting behaviour. This article investigates the impact of positive and negative economic performance on voting patterns. The idea that voters are more likely to punish governments for poor economic performance, the grievance asymmetry hypothesis, has found some empirical support, but in their comprehensive review of the economic voting literature, Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier concluded that the evidence of asymmetric economic voting was, at best, mixed. Ireland presents a clear test of the grievance asymmetric economic vote with recent elections taking place against backdrops of some of the highest economic growth rates in the world and then one of the most spectacular economic crashes. We demonstrate that economic shocks matter a great deal; Irish voters like their counterparts elsewhere in crisis hit states are unforgiving. Furthermore, the electoral change at the 2011 election in Ireland was extreme and challenges the consensus that economic voting is a small force.
... It remains unknown, however, whether differences exist within the group of four Southern countries. Previous literature suggests that economic voting is more pro- nounced in systems where the responsibility for economic outcomes is clear (Powell and Whitten 1993). Following this logic, economic effects should be smaller in Italy, which, in contrast to its fellow Southern European nations, has traditionally been characterised by complex multiparty coalitions, where economic responsibility has been divided between various actors. ...
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The financial and debt crisis caused severe economic and political instability in Italy. Economic hardship led to an array of unpopular policy measures, giving rise to public dissatisfaction and civil unrest. These dramatic developments call for a re-assessment of the basic link between the economy and political support. This article uses the European Election Studies (EES) Voter study data from 2004, 2009 and 2014 to investigate patterns of economic voting. We assess the magnitude of economic effects in Italy in comparison with other Southern European countries that in recent years have witnessed similar economic and political turmoil. The results point to a strong impact of economic conditions on incumbent support in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain. However, retrospective voting weakened amid the crisis, with Italian voters in particular placing less blame for economic conditions on the national government than before. Importantly, we also find a considerable increase in prospective voting in Italy. Despite the nation’s past economic experience, voters were willing to reward Renzi’s government when they believed that its policies would bring economic improvement.
... That interpretation must be directly tested, which means developing measures of election decisiveness. Such measures have been used in other streams of research (see, in particular,Powell & Whitten 1993); they might have to be amended or refined, but they should be incorporated in future studies. It could also be argued that what really matters is clarity of choice, that is, voters need to know with relative certainty the coalitions that might be formed. ...
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... Perhaps the most important of such developments concerns the "clarity of responsibility" afforded to citizens by the institutional arrangement in their polity. Powell and Whitten (1993) identify a set of institutional factors-such as coalition government, bicameralism, opposition power sharing, and party cohesion-that govern the extent incumbents are deemed responsible for economic outcomes. For example, institutions such as coalition government in list proportional representation systems can serve to obscure the target of responsibility for economic performance, yielding a diminished relationship between the economy and the vote. 2 Notions of the "clarity of responsibility" have now been applied and modified several times over, representing a major step forward in specifying connection between the economy and election outcomes (see, e.g., Anderson, 2000;Bengtsson, 2004;Hellwig & Samuels, 2008;Hobolt et al., 2013;Van der Eijk, Franklin, Demant, & van der Brug, 2007). ...
Chapter
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The economic vote provides a widely available tool for gauging electoral accountability. Yet in many cases, this search for electoral accountability appears elusive. A large literature has yielded conflicting and unstable empirical results. While there appears to be an association between the economy and citizens' voting behavior, we are unsure of its foundation. Do citizens reflect on the performance of the economy when choosing between candidates in democratic elections? What determines the existence and size of the economic vote: individual attributes, the wider politico-economic context, or messages received from trusted elites? Scholars have unearthed some answers by turning outward to consider context, theorizing the cross-national, individual-level, and temporal conditions under which economic voting is likely to be strongest. In addition, more recently, researchers have turned inward to reassess the mechanism that drives the link between economic performance and voting behavior. Future scholarship must continue to interrogate core theoretical questions in an effort to better understand how citizens' subjective economic evaluations are reflected in their decisions as voters. Keywords: economy; voting behavior; economic evaluations; sociotropic economy; motivated reasoning; endogeneity; clarity of responsibility
... In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP, roughly 20% of the population) it was the Awami National Party — a secular Pashtun nationalist party — in 2010 and a new national party, the Pakistan-Tarek-Insaf, in 2013. Given that complexity, it would have been hard for a voter to know which party to reward or punish, akin to the concept of " clarity of responsibility " (Powell Jr. andWhiten, 1993). It is impossible to tell from our data whether the lack of partisan swing reflects the ambiguous responsibility in this context or a general failure to reward good performance. ...
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How natural disasters affect politics in developing countries is an important question, given the fragility of fledgling democratic institutions in some of these countries as well as likely increased exposure to natural disasters over time due to climate change. Research in sociology and psychology suggests traumatic events can inspire pro-social behavior and therefore might increase political engagement. Research in political science argues that economic resources are critical for political engagement and thus the economic dislocation from disasters may dampen participation. We argue that when the government and civil society response effectively blunts a disaster's economic impacts, then political engagement may increase as citizens learn about government capacity. Using diverse data from the massive 2010-11 Pakistan floods, we find that Pakistanis in highly flood-affected areas turned out to vote at substantially higher rates three years later than those less exposed. We also provide speculative evidence on the mechanism. The increase in turnout was higher in areas with lower ex ante flood risk, which is consistent with a learning process. These results suggest that natural disasters may not necessarily undermine civil society in emerging developing democracies. © 2017 C. Christine Fair, P. M. Kuhn, N. Malhotra, and J. N. Shapiro.
... However, there are skeptics who question the inclusive impact of federalism. Overlapping functions may reduce the clarity of responsibility and, therefore, electoral accountability (Powell & Whitten, 1993). Furthermore, territorial autonomy can reinforce ethnic differences and even lead to separation. ...
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In this paper, we investigated the impact of different institutions on ethnic minorities’ political participation. Based on the results of a hierarchical cross-country comparison, we found that individuals belonging to ethnic minorities were less likely to participate in national elections than members of the majority groups within the same country. We tested whether this negative effect of belonging to an ethnic minority group on political participation could be attenuated by inclusive institutions such as suffrage rights, horizontal power-sharing institutions (Proportional electoral system PR, effective proportionality, the number of government parties) or vertical power-dividing institutions in terms of federalism (subnational elections and subnational authority) attenuated the negative effect of belonging to an ethnic minority group. The results of multilevel analyses showed that suffrage rights attenuate the negative effect of minority status on political participation. In contrast, power dividing enhances the negative effect of belonging to an ethnic minority group on political participation.
... In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP, roughly 20% of the population) it was the Awami National Party — a secular Pashtun nationalist party — in 2010 and a new national party, the Pakistan-Tarek-Insaf, in 2013. Given that complexity, it would have been hard for a voter to know which party to reward or punish, akin to the concept of " clarity of responsibility " (Powell Jr. andWhiten, 1993). It is impossible to tell from our data whether the lack of partisan swing reflects the ambiguous responsibility in this context or a general failure to reward good performance. ...
Article
Full-text available
How natural disasters affect politics in developing countries is an important question given the fragility of fledgling democratic institutions in some of these countries as well as likely increased exposure to natural disasters over time due to climate change. Research in sociology and psychology suggests traumatic events can inspire pro-social behavior and therefore might increase political engagement. Research in political science argues that economic resources are critical for political engagement and thus the economic dislocation from disasters may dampen participation. We argue that when the government and civil society response effectively blunts a disaster’s economic impacts, then political engagement may increase as citizens learn about government capacity. Using diverse data from the massive 2010-11 Pakistan floods, we find that Pakistanis in highly flood-affected areas turned out to vote at substantially higher rates three years later than those less exposed. We also provide speculative evidence on the mechanism. The increase in turnout was higher in areas with lower ex-ante flood risk, which is consistent with a learning process. These results suggest that natural disasters may not necessarily undermine civil society in emerging developing democracies.
... The importance of responsibility is already well-established in studies of sociotropic economic voting. In their seminal article, Powell andWhitten (1993)show that economic voting is conditioned by the 'clarity of responsibility' of political institutions. More specifically, they argue that complex institutional and governmental structures blur lines of responsibility and this blurring makes it more difficult for voters to assign responsibility and therefore sanction governments on the basis of their performance. ...
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In this paper we revisit the often disregarded ‘pocketbook voting’ thesis that suggests that people evaluate governments based on the state of their own finances. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey over the last 20 years, we measure changes in personal financial circumstances and show that the ‘pocketbook voting’ model works. Crucially, we also argue that the ability to attribute responsibility for these changes to the government matters. People respond much more strongly to changes in their own finances that are linked to government spending, such as welfare transfers, than to similar changes that are less clearly the responsibility of elected officials, such as lower personal earnings. We conclude that pocketbook voting is a real phenomenon, but that more attention should be paid to how people assign credit and blame for changes in their own economic circumstances.
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How does political polarization affect the welfare of the electorate? We analyze this question using a framework in which two policy and office motivated parties compete in an infinite sequence of elections. We propose two novel measures to describe the degree of conflict among agents: antagonism is the disagreement between parties; extremism is the disagreement between each party and the representative voter. These two measures do not coincide when parties care about multiple issues. We show that forward-looking parties have an incentive to implement policies favored by the representative voter, in an attempt to constrain future challengers. This incentive grows as antagonism increases. On the other hand, extremism decreases the electorate’s welfare. We discuss the methodological and empirical implications for the existing measures of political actors’ ideal points and for the debate on elite polarization.
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Voters' perception of Japanese party system after the electoral reform was investigated and compared with the perception under the LDP dominance era. Tobit principal component analysis was applied to the feeling thermometer data in seven different dataset and analyzed the changes and continues of the voters' perception toward party system. As the result, I found voters put parties on two dimensional space, whose first dimension is the left-right policy frame and the second dimension is governmental party - opposition party distinction. The two dimensional space emerged after the Koizumi cabinet. I also found there is a fair correlation between the voters' principal component score of the governmental party- opposition party dimension and the retrospective evaluation of the cabinet.
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The 2012 presidential election was closely contested with the media predicting that the unemployment rate announcement just before the election would be the deciding factor. If a single economic indicator could buoy up job approval ratings, delivering positive economic statistics to the voters would be a rational re-election strategy for an incumbent. In contrast, this paper presents a model in which voters do not immediately convert each economic statistic into a performance evaluation. Only after many “rehearsals” do voters convert statistics into a positive or negative evaluation. I take the case of Japan and use a survey experiment and an inverse probability weighting (IPW) estimator to assess whether short-, medium- and long-term performance evaluations form based on voter perception of economic conditions.
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One of the most striking political developments occurring during the Great Recession has been the growth of the radical left in some European countries. Though the literature is far from conclusive, it has generally been argued that the economy is not a main reason driving people’s support for non-mainstream parties (particularly the Greens and the radical right). In this article, we contend that this is not the case for radical left parties, which despite pursuing other agendas do still compete very strongly on economic issues. Using individual-level data for 56 elections taking place between 1996 and 2016 in 15 European countries, we find a positive effect of unemployment on support for radical left parties, and only very weak evidence that this effect depends on voters’ ideology or whether the mainstream left (Social Democrats) is in office. We conclude that unemployment enables the radical left to increase its support regardless of the political context, but does not significantly change by itself the ideological makeup of its electorate.
Chapter
Euroskeptische Parteien sind ein wesentlicher Faktor für die Politisierung der Europäischen Union. Diese haben das Thema Europäische Integration aufgegriffen, um ihre Wahlchancen zu erhöhen. Gleichzeitig gelang es ihnen, die neu entstandene politische Konfliktlinie für sich zu mobilisieren. Nicht zuletzt aus diesen Gründen erhalten euroskeptische Parteien bei nationalen, aber insbesondere auch bei Europawahlen immer höhere Stimmenanteile. Den bisherigen Höhepunkt stellt die Wahl 2014 dar: Nie zuvor in der Geschichte der Europawahlen haben sich so viele Menschen entschieden, einer euroskeptischen Partei ihre Stimme zu geben. Neben der Tatsache, dass das Interesse der Bürger an diesen Parteien generell im Laufe der Europäischen Integration gestiegen ist, kann auch die Finanz- bzw. Eurokrise als eine Erklärung für diesen Anstieg herangezogen werden. Vor diesem Hintergrund beschäftigen wir uns in dem vorliegenden Beitrag mit der Entscheidung der Wähler für euroskeptische Parteien im Schatten der Wirtschaftskrise. Wir verwenden Daten der Europawahlstudie 2014 und untersuchen die verschiedenen Mechanismen der Krise und deren Auswirkungen auf die Wahlentscheidung der Bürger für euroskeptische Parteien. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigen, dass auch die Wirtschaftskrise dazu beitrug, dass sich die Bürger bei der Europawahl 2014 für euroskeptische Parteien entschieden.
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What is the impact of corruption on citizens' voting behavior? There is a growing literature on an increasingly ubiquitous puzzle in many democratic countries: that corrupt officials continue to be re-elected by voters. In this study we address this issue with a novel theory and newly collected original survey data for 24 European countries. The crux of the argument is that voters' ideology is a salient factor in explaining why citizens would continue voting for their preferred party despite the fact that it has been involved in a corruption scandal. Developing a theory of supply (number of effective parties) and demand (voters must have acceptable ideological alternatives to their preferred party), we posit that there is a U-shaped relationship between the likelihood of corruption voting and where voters place themselves on the left/right spectrum. The further to the fringes, the more likely the voters are to neglect corruption charges and continue to support their party. However, as the number of viable party alternatives increases, the effect of ideology is expected to play a smaller role. In systems with a large number of effective parties, the curve is expected to be flat, as the likelihood that the fringe voters also have a clean and reasonably ideologically close alternative to switch to. The hypothesis implies a cross level interaction for which we find strong and robust empirical evidence using hierarchical modeling. In addition, we provide empirical insights about how individual level ideology and country level party systems - among other factors - impact a voter's decision to switch parties or stay home in the face of their party being involved in a corruption scandal.
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In some religious countries, churches have drafted constitutions, restricted abortion, and controlled education. In others, church influence on public policy is far weaker. Why? Nations under God argues that where religious and national identities have historically fused, churches gain enormous moral authority-and covert institutional access. These powerful churches then shape policy in backrooms and secret meetings instead of through open democratic channels such as political parties or the ballot box. Through an in-depth historical analysis of six Christian democracies that share similar religious profiles yet differ in their policy outcomes-Ireland and Italy, Poland and Croatia, and the United States and Canada-Anna Grzymala-Busse examines how churches influenced education, abortion, divorce, stem cell research, and same-sex marriage. She argues that churches gain the greatest political advantage when they appear to be above politics. Because institutional access is covert, they retain their moral authority and their reputation as defenders of the national interest and the common good. Nations under God shows how powerful church officials in Ireland, Canada, and Poland have directly written legislation, vetoed policies, and vetted high-ranking officials. It demonstrates that religiosity itself is not enough for churches to influence politics-churches in Italy and Croatia, for example, are not as influential as we might think-and that churches allied to political parties, such as in the United States, have less influence than their notoriety suggests.
Book
Why do some democracies reflect their citizens' foreign policy preferences better than others? What roles do the media, political parties, and the electoral system play in a democracy's decision to join or avoid a war? War and Democratic Constraint shows that the key to how a government determines foreign policy rests on the transmission and availability of information. Citizens successfully hold their democratic governments accountable and a distinctive foreign policy emerges when two vital institutions-a diverse and independent political opposition and a robust media-are present to make timely information accessible. Matthew Baum and Philip Potter demonstrate that there must first be a politically potent opposition that can blow the whistle when a leader missteps. This counteracts leaders' incentives to obscure and misrepresent. Second, healthy media institutions must be in place and widely accessible in order to relay information from whistle-blowers to the public. Baum and Potter explore this communication mechanism during three different phases of international conflicts: when states initiate wars, when they respond to challenges from other states, or when they join preexisting groups of actors engaged in conflicts. Examining recent wars, including those in Afghanistan and Iraq, War and Democratic Constraint links domestic politics and mass media to international relations in a brand-new way.
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Electoral preferences radically changed between 1994 and 2012. Based on surveys taken from voters as they left the polling place, this article analyzes the relationship between the voter's perception of change in the economic situation and preference for the incumbent party in this period. Economic retrospective vote is one feature of voter's behavior widely present, of a small magnitude and almost constant in all elections, except in moments of big economic changes. The effect of economic perceptions on the vote for the incumbent party is of a limited magnitude, because voter's party identification mediates this relationship between perceptions and vote.
Chapter
Political accountability is a fundamental feature of and a yardstick for evaluating democracy (Powell, 2000). The effectiveness of democracy in keeping those in power in check is wholly relevant in the case of corruption. A large body of research has become engaged with a review of the systemic/contextual factors that can account for variations in the levels of corruption at the aggregate level. A number of country-specific factors have been deemed relevant in this sort of study (see Persson et al., 2003; Kunicová and Ackerman, 2005; Chang and Golden, 2007; Charron, 2011). The argument here is that different institutional arrangements (e.g. constitutional arrangements or the electoral formula) provide differential incentives and opportunities to elites to engage in corrupt behavior and extract rents. Similarly, it provides differential opportunities and incentives to both elites and voters to monitor, and for that matter sanction, corrupt behavior (Charron, 2011).
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What is the relationship between a personalistic style of government and presidential approval? And, to what extent the relationships between evaluations of the economy, partisanship and presidential approval are conditioned by a personalistic government style? We answer these questions using survey data and contextual information on government style. Data on government style comes from an original measure designed to capture this variable. Results suggest: Although all personalistic leaders establish an emotional link with people, some of them complement this link with authoritarian practices. There is a positive link between personalistic government style and presidential approval. Personalistic government style plays a conditional role as it boosts the effect of sociotropic evaluations on presidential approval.
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Chapter
Economic voting has become a major paradigm for understanding electoral processes, especially in advanced industrial democracies. Voters in these nations routinely punish governments for economic downturn, or reward them for economic boom. Two such democracies have received special attention — France and the United States. As Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier (2000: 205) observe, in their exhaustive review of the economic voting literature, these two countries are “the most commonly studied.” For both nations, there are numerous investigations of individual opinion surveys or aggregate time series demonstrating that economic variables matter for presidential and legislative election outcomes. But, missing from most of these investigations are institutional features and their influence on the economic vote. For example, the “economy coefficient,” from whatever measure, usually offers itself as a direct general effect, unconditioned by different political rules. Our special concern here is how the institution of what we broadly label dual governance (i.e. cohabitation in France, divided government in the US), conditions the economic vote.
Chapter
The severe economic crisis that unfolded in Western economies in 2008 could be expected to have had political consequences as well as economic ones. As European economies slipped into recession in the latter part of 2008, the focus of attention in both European Union and national politics turned increasingly to economic matters. The immediate cause of the recession was widely attributed to external shocks, particularly the financial crisis in the United States, which was precipitated by events such as the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank, the bailout of the insurance conglomerate AIG, and the ripple effects throughout the economy of those events. For most European economies, the low point was reached in the second quarter of 2009, with the average net growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for the EU27 at that time registering −4.2 per cent (Table 4.1). Only Poland escaped recession conditions, showing weak growth at an annualized rate of +1.7 per cent in this period. By the first quarter of 2010, all European countries had begun at least a modest recovery from the recession. However, this recovery began to stall as a second economic crisis took shape in Europe, involving sovereign debt markets in Greece, Spain, Ireland, and some other countries, generating pressures on European banks and other institutions and even raising anxieties about the potential survival of the Euro.
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This article surveys the quantitative literature in coalition foreign policy. Tracing its development back to what we call the ‘first generation studies’ in Democratic Peace research, we illustrate that its theoretical and methodological foundations distinguish this literature from its predecessors. We then overview the existing studies along three dimensions: the nature of the dependent variables, the content of the key explanatory variables, and the processes that identify and systematise the institutional factors that influence coalition foreign policy. Our suggestions for future research highlight some of the puzzles motivated by the findings of this literature and the promise of multi-method designs.
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Governments led by nonpartisan, ‘technocratic’ prime ministers are a rare phenomenon in parliamentary democracies, but have become more frequent since the late 1980s. This article focuses on the factors that lead to the formation of such cabinets. It posits that parliamentary parties with the chance to win the prime ministerial post will only relinquish it during political and economic crises that drastically increase the electoral costs of ruling and limit policy returns from governing. Statistical analyses of 469 government formations in 29 European democracies between 1977 and 2013 suggest that political scandals and economic recessions are major drivers of the occurrence of technocratic prime ministers. Meanwhile, neither presidential powers nor party system fragmentation and polarisation have any independent effect. The findings suggest that parties strategically choose technocrat-led governments to shift blame and re-establish their credibility and that of their policies in the face of crises that de-legitimise their rule.
Conference Paper
In this paper we present the agent model of political preferences dynamics in a democratic society. The parties are divided in two groups: "left" and "right". Each agent votes for the party, which political program would lead to upgrading his standard of living. We consider different criteria to compare agent's standard of living with his environment, taking into account his information constraints. Within experimental studies we analyze influence of tax policy on distribution of votes.
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This paper analyzes the determinants of retrospective sociotropic economic evaluation in the 2014 presidential race in Brazil, based on: a) the knowledge that the voter has from objective information of the economy; b) the knowledge that the voter has from their lived experience/feeling of social mobility; c) their party affectivity; d) their ideological identity. Our contribution consists of showing that: a) having knowledge of/objective information about the economy has no impact on one’s assessment of the economy; b) knowledge through lived experience, identified here as a sense of social mobility, has no impact on one’s assessment of the economy in the expected direction—the greater the rise, the more positive the evaluation of the economy; c) party affectivity, in turn, has a strong impact on evaluations of the economy. The article uses data from CSES/Eseb – Brazilian Electoral Study.
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Existing studies suggest that normative commitments to the European Union's gender equality standards remain weak in states applying for EU membership, and that citizens are unresponsive to information the EU provides. However, these studies do not gauge public support for women's rights when they are addressed as an EU issue (an EU frame). In an original experimental survey of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I examine the effect of EU framing on support for equal pay between women and men, and the responsibility assigned to the government for unequal pay. I find that EU frames affect the responsibility assigned to the government. Supporters of independence from the EU assign less responsibility to their government for unequal pay, when equal pay is addressed as an EU issue.
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This article critically reviews the literature on the voting in response to governmental past performance (“retrospective voting”) and short-run economic conditions (“economic voting”). A state of the art of research into the qestion of both whether and how a person votes, based on both aggregate time-series analyses and cross-sectional analyses of individual survey responses, are discussed. Further progress in these areas, I argue, requires comparative perspective and extensive treatment of systemic and contextual variables in the model.
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External threats such as war have been shown to disrupt representation as politicians ‘put politics aside’ and cooperate across cleavages. This article examines whether a severe economic crisis can have a similar effect. It introduces a new approach that provides a spatial representation of how political parties represent societal actors in their public interactions, based on more than 140,000 machine coded news events from eleven eurozone countries between 2001 and 2011. The study shows that in bad economic times, there is a compression of political representation: parties’ relationships with the societal groups they are closest to become less cooperative, while their relationships with the groups they are least close to become less conflictual.
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Este artigo analisa o impacto da economia nas eleições presidenciais latino-americanas ocorridas entre 1990 e 2010. Os resultados aqui apresentados demonstram que a ideologia do presidente e o contexto político condicionam este impacto e que, portanto, a natureza da relação de accountabilityentre eleitores e presidentes varia entre países e administrações presidenciais. Em primeiro lugar, a economia só afetou o desempenho eleitoral de candidatos governistas de centro, sugerindo que os eleitores dão mais peso a áreas não econômicas quando avaliam a administração de presidentes de direita e de esquerda. Em segundo, a economia só afetou o desempenho eleitoral de candidatos governistas em contextos de maioria e partido único, o que indica que os eleitores latino-americanos não atribuem responsabilidade aos presidentes pela performance econômica quando estes dependem de aliados ou da cooperação da oposição para governar.
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