The Economy and the Vote: Economic Conditions and Elections in Fifteen Countries

The Economy and the Vote: Economic Conditions and Elections in Fifteen Countries

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By (author) Wouter Van Der Brug, By (author) Cees Van Der Eijk, By (author) Mark Franklin

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Product description

Economic conditions are said to affect election outcomes, but past research has produced unstable and contradictory findings. This book argues that these problems are caused by the failure to take account of electoral competition between parties. A research strategy to correct this problem is designed and applied to investigate effects of economic conditions on (individual) voter choices and (aggregate) election outcomes over 42 elections in 15 countries. It shows that economic conditions exert small effects on individual party preferences, which can have large consequences for election outcomes. In countries where responsibility for economic policy is clear, voters vote retrospectively and reward or punish incumbent parties - although in coalition systems smaller government parties often gain at the expense of the largest party when economic conditions deteriorate. Where clarity of responsibility for economic policy is less clear, voters vote more prospectively on the basis of expected party policies.

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Author information

Wouter van der Brug is associate professor in methods for the social sciences at the Amsterdam School for Communications Research, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. His work has been published in Comparative Political Studies, the British Journal of Political Science, the European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies, Party Politics, the Journal of Theoretical Politics, West European Politics, and Acta Politica. He recently co-authored European Elections and Domestic Politics (with Cees van der Eijk, 2007). Cees van der Eijk is professor of social science research methods at the University of Nottingham, England. He taught at the University of Amsterdam from 1971 to 2004, was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976-7, and was a Visiting Scholar at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in 1988-9. He is the author or co-author of fifteen books, including European Elections and Domestic Politics (with Wouter van der Brug, 2007), Citizen Participation in European Politics (with Hans Agne and others, 2000), In Search of Structure (with Meindert Fennema and Huib Schijf, 1998) and Choosing Europe? (with Mark Franklin and others, 1996), and of many articles and chapters in refereed journals and books. Mark Franklin is the Stein Rokkan Professor of Comparative Politics at the European University Institute in Florence while on leave from Trinity College, Connecticut, where he has been teaching since 1998. He has also taught at the universities of Chicago, Iowa, and Houston in the USA and at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. He has published eleven books, including Voter Turnout and the Dynamics of Electoral Competition in Established Democracies since 1945 (Cambridge, 2004), Choosing Europe? (with Cees van der Eijk and others, 1996), and Electoral Change (with Tom Mackie, Henry Valen, and others, Cambridge, 1992). He founded the Public Opinion and Participation Section of the European Union Studies Association, has been a director of the European Election Studies project since 1987, and has served on the editorial boards of six journals.

Review quote

"Van der Brug and company hit conventional wisdom hard. By their analysis, the economy, after all, influences the voter decision relatively little. The investigation, unique in its construction and provocative in its conclusion, begs to be read by comparative election scholars." Michael Lewis-Beck, F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Iowa "The Economy and the Vote is an important book on an important subject. The authors develop a simple but powerful theoretical model that treats the vote decision as a two-stage process, where party preferences and party choice are taken separately. They then provide a truly exhaustive empirical analysis of the ways in which characteristics of parties and party competition structure economic effects on party preferences and, ultimately, the vote. The end result is compelling; it confirms and illuminates what we know to be true, and resolves puzzles that have eluded explanation until now. This book is certain to engage scholars for years to come." Christopher Wlezien, Temple University "One of the important contributions of this book is a recasting of economic voting theories in a more comprehensive two-stage model of voting behavior...this book provides powerful methodological and theoretical guidance for for students of voting behavior and an important reminder to bring the competitive dynamic back into our models of voting behavior." Matthew M. Singer, Journal of Politics

Table of contents

1. Studying economic voting; 2. Party choice as a two-stage process; 3. Hypotheses and data: the theoretical and empirical setting; 4. Effects of the economy on party support; 5. The economic voter; 6. From individual preferences to election outcomes; 7. The economy, party competition, and the vote.