Voting and the macroeconomy: separating trend from cycle
Voters respond differently to trend growth as opposed to economic cycles in GDP. When assessing incumbent competence the rational voter filters out economic cycles when they are the product of external shocks but rewards strong trend growth over the previous term of office. Voters also respond to policy platforms, and parties closest to the median voter have an advantage à la Downs (1957). This advantage is theorized to be heightened in times of recession. Using data from elections in OECD countries and a much more exacting econometric specification than used in previous analyses we find robust evidence of a positive vote response to strong performance in trend growth. We also find evidence to support the hypothesis that centralizing garners additional votes during recession.
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