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Ideology, Competence and Luck: What determines general election results?

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  • John Maloney
  • Andrew Pickering

    ()

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of luck, defined as global economic growth, and competence, defined as the difference between domestic and world growth, on voting in general elections since 1960. The vote of incumbent parties of the right is found to be sensitive to luck, whereas that of incumbent parties of the left is not. This is consistent with the Clientele Hypothesis given electorates which fail to perfectly distinguish luck from competence. Economic competence plays a strong role in determining the vote, especially in high-income democracies. The electoral reward to competence is essentially equal across parties of either ideology, contra to the Saliency Hypothesis. The data are also supportive of the Territory Hypothesis, namely that greater ideological territory increases a party's relative vote share.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series Bristol Economics Discussion Papers with number 08/607.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:08/607

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Keywords: voting; ideology; luck; competence;

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  1. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
  2. Holcombe, Randall G, 1980. "An Empirical Test of the Median Voter Model," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 260-74, April.
  3. Andrew Leigh, 2004. "Does the World Economy Swing National Elections?," CEPR Discussion Papers 485, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. Mulligan, Casey B & Hunter, Charles G, 2003. " The Empirical Frequency of a Pivotal Vote," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(1-2), pages 31-54, July.
  5. Swank, O.H., 1991. "Popularity Functions Based on the Partisan Theory," Papers 9112-g, Erasmus University of Rotterdam - Institute for Economic Research.
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