Controversy exists over whether people use retrospective or prospective economic perceptions when evaluating their political leadership. In this article, I argue that the structure of the political-economic system affects which type of economic perception people employ. Specifically, in established democracies with developed economies, people will employ prospective assessments. In contrast, in nations with less well-established democratic systems and less developed economies, people will employ retrospective reasoning. They do so because under such conditions uncertainty about the future is too high for them to make reliable prospective assessments. I test this hypothesis on aggregate survey data taken from 41 nations in 2002. Support for the hypothesis is found. The conclusion puts the findings into perspective and discusses directions for future research.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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