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