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Government Popularity and the Economy First Evidence from German Micro Data


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  • Soeren Enkelmann

    (Department of Economics, Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany)


This is one of the first studies to estimate a popularity function at the micro-level. Using German micro-level data (GGSS/ALLBUS) for the years 1991, 1992, 1998, and 2008, we show that a positive assessment of the economy significantly improves government popularity while negative evaluations decrease satisfaction with the government. Voters take the (current and expected) national and personal economic situation into account. We find no evidence for a grievance asymmetry, i.e. voters punish the government for a bad economy but also reward them in good times. Finally, we show that popularity functions are only very crude proxies for vote functions, with the latter being mostly driven by party identification.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 274.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:274

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Keywords: vote function; popularity function; micro data; Germany;

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  1. Soeren Enkelmann & Michael Berlemann, 2013. "The Economic Determinants of U.S. Presidential Approval - A Survey," Working Paper Series in Economics, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics 272, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  3. Irem Batool & Gernot Sieg, 2009. "Bread and the attrition of power: Economic events and German election results," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 141(1), pages 151-165, October.
  4. Norpoth, Helmut & Gschwend, Thomas, 2010. "The chancellor model: Forecasting German elections," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 42-53, January.
  5. Neck, Reinhard & Karbuz, Sohbet, 1997. " Econometric Estimations of Popularity Functions: A Case Study for Austria," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 91(1), pages 57-88, April.
  6. Nannestad, Peter & Paldam, Martin, 1994. " The VP-Function: A Survey of the Literature on Vote and Popularity Functions after 25 Years," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 79(3-4), pages 213-45, June.
  7. Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 1991. "On the relation between voting intention and the perception of the general economic situation : An empirical analysis for the Federal Republic of Germany, 1972-1986," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 497-526, November.
  8. Nannestad, Peter & Paldam, Martin, 1997. "The grievance asymmetry revisited: A micro study of economic voting in Denmark,1986-1992," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 81-99, February.
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