When do Economic Perceptions Matter for Party Approval?

When do Economic Perceptions Matter for Party Approval? Do economic perceptions influence partisan preferences or vice versa? We argue that the direction of influence between government approval and economic perceptions is conditional on the state of the economy. Under conditions of economic crisis, when economic signals are relatively unambiguous, perceptions of the economy can be expected to exogenously influence government approval but this is not found when the economy is experiencing a more typical pattern of moderate growth and economic signals are more mixed. We test these arguments using British election panel surveys covering electoral cycles of moderate economic growth (1997–2001) and dramatic and negative disruption (2005–2010). We examine the most commonly employed measures of retrospective economic perceptions and estimate a range of models using structural equations modelling. We demonstrate that when the economy is performing extremely badly economic perceptions have an exogenous effect on government approval and provide a means of electoral accountability, but this is not the case in under more normal circumstances. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

When do Economic Perceptions Matter for Party Approval?

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Social Sciences, general; Political Science, general; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-013-9236-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Do economic perceptions influence partisan preferences or vice versa? We argue that the direction of influence between government approval and economic perceptions is conditional on the state of the economy. Under conditions of economic crisis, when economic signals are relatively unambiguous, perceptions of the economy can be expected to exogenously influence government approval but this is not found when the economy is experiencing a more typical pattern of moderate growth and economic signals are more mixed. We test these arguments using British election panel surveys covering electoral cycles of moderate economic growth (1997–2001) and dramatic and negative disruption (2005–2010). We examine the most commonly employed measures of retrospective economic perceptions and estimate a range of models using structural equations modelling. We demonstrate that when the economy is performing extremely badly economic perceptions have an exogenous effect on government approval and provide a means of electoral accountability, but this is not the case in under more normal circumstances.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 6, 2013

References

  • The end of economic voting? Contingency dilemmas and the limits of democratic accountability
    Anderson, CJ
  • Beyond the running tally: Partisan bias in political perceptions
    Bartels, LM

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