▪ Abstract The predominant normative justification for research on economic voting has been its essential role in shaping democratic accountability. A systematic examination of this literature reveals, however, that economic voting is highly contingent on two critical moderating factors: voters themselves and the political context in which they make judgments. The trend toward a better and more realistic understanding of economic voting produced by almost four decades of empirical research has created what I label “contingency dilemmas” for the field's normative foundations because economic voting does not function as envisioned by advocates of democratic accountability. This essay reviews these empirical findings and critically examines how they affect the economic voting paradigm. It argues that, when viewed from a normative perspective, contingent accountability is clearly problematic, and it calls for a reconsideration of the normative underpinnings of the economic voting paradigm in light of the current state of knowledge.
Annual Review of Political Science – Annual Reviews
Published: Jun 15, 2007
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