Party cues and yardstick voting
Politicians within any given party generally exhibit a degree similarity in terms of (political) viewpoints. Moreover, they are often constrained to follow general party lines on certain policy issues. Finally, they may be more likely to mimic one another than politicians from another party. Hence, parties provide important cues on how politicians will act once elected. The present paper assesses the implications of such party cues for the traditional model of yardstick voting (where voters use what they observe in neighbouring jurisdictions to judge the performance of their incumbent). It is shown that the information content of what happens in neighbouring jurisdictions differs depending on whether or not the same party governs this jurisdiction. More specifically, we find that voters might still take neighbouring jurisdictions into account, but should distinguish between jurisdictions where the same or a different party is in power. The results of the model are in line with recent empirical observations in Sweden and the United States.
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