Two Types of Economic Voting: How Economic Conditions Jointly Affect Vote Choice and Turnout.

Electoral Studies (2014) 34: 39-53

The economic voting literature mostly looks at vote choice, ignoring potential effects on turnout. Studies that do focus on the latter often ignore the former, and come to contradictory conclusions. I develop a model of economic voting that jointly incorporates vote choice and abstention due to alienation or indifference. Analyzing ten elections with validated turnout data and conducting empirically informed simulations, I make two contributions. First, I show that "turnout switching" accounts for up to one third of total economic voting. This second type of economic voting is more common when the number of parties is low and responsibility is dispersed. Second, I show that a bad economy moves some people to abstain while having the opposite effect on others. The aggregate effect is ambiguous and related to macro-conditions in a non-linear way. This explains contradictory findings in the literature.

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