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The European VoterA Comparative Study Of Modern Democracies$
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Jacques Thomassen

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273218

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199273219.001.0001

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Retrospective Voting 1

Retrospective Voting 1

(p.213) 9 Retrospective Voting1
The European Voter

Ola Listhaug

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates that the European voter is also an economic voter in the sense that negative evaluations of the economy hurt the electoral fortunes of incumbent parties. For those who expected that economic voting would be on the rise, the empirical results are disappointing. Systematic trends towards an increase in economic voting were not observed. Political events and institutional factors account for some of the variations in economic voting. For instance, the weak and irregular effects in Norway can be explained by the dominance of minority governments, a weak opposition, and the EU issue which dominated over economic concerns and probably reduced Labour’s ability to benefit from the first stage of the economic recovery in the 1993 election. Similarly, under a different institutional context, the British Conservative party in 1997 had less success than Labour four years later in taking advantage of an improving economy. These examples may suggest that institutions as well as embedded effects of political events influence the impact of economic evaluations on the vote.

Keywords:   economic voting, retrospective voting, Europe

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