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Political support in hard times: Do people care about national welfare?

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  • Friedrichsen, Jana
  • Zahn, Philipp

Abstract

During the Great Recession mass demonstrations indicated weakened political support in Europe. We show that growing dissatisfaction often reflects poor economic conditions and unemployment is particularly important. Using individual level data for 16 Western European countries for 1976-2010, we find that national economic performance matters even beyond personal economic outcomes. Finally, while the effects of growth and unemployment rates are the same across demographic subsets, the effect of inflation is heterogeneous. Well-educated or working individuals put a relatively higher weight on price stability than the less skilled or not working. Our findings reinforce the political importance of employment and growth policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Friedrichsen, Jana & Zahn, Philipp, 2013. "Political support in hard times: Do people care about national welfare?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-212, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmbh:spii2013212
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    Cited by:

    1. Georgia Kaplanoglou & Vassilis T. Rapanos & Ioanna C. Bardakas, 2015. "Does Fairness Matter for the Success of Fiscal Consolidation?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 197-219, May.
    2. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2016. "Voting and Popularity," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    3. Guido Merzoni & Federico Trombetta, 2016. "The cost of doing the right thing. A model of populism with rent-seeking politicians and the economic crisis," DISEIS - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia internazionale, delle istituzioni e dello sviluppo dis1602, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimento di Economia internazionale, delle istituzioni e dello sviluppo (DISEIS).
    4. Agnello, Luca & Castro, Vitor & Jalles, João Tovar & Sousa, Ricardo M., 2015. "What determines the likelihood of structural reforms?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 129-145.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political support; satisfaction with democracy; growth; unemployment; collectivism;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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