Economics, Elections, and Voting Behavior

Suzanna Linn, Jonathan Nagler and Marco A. Morales

in The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199235476
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Economics, Elections, and Voting Behavior

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This article pays attention to classic and recent work on economic voting at both the individual level and in the aggregate. It first presents the question of pocketbook versus sociotropic voting. The first major attempt to understand the mechanism causing the observed relationship between the state of the economy and voting was the attempt to discover whether voters were paying attention to the aggregate economy, or to their own pocketbook. Next, it addresses the question: do voters vote retrospectively, assessing past economic performance, or do they vote prospectively, basing votes on expectations of the future? Divided government raises an important question for students of economic voting. The implication is that divided government should reduce economic voting because the target of economic responsibility is less clear to voters. The article then provides a discussion of the directions research on economic voting is heading.

Keywords: economic voting; elections; pocketbook voting; sociotropic voting; aggregate economy; voters; divided government

Article.  9451 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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