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Voters and Voting in ContextMultiple Contexts and the Heterogeneous German Electorate$
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Harald Schoen, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Bernhard Weßels, and Christof Wolf

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198792130

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198792130.001.0001

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Economic Performance and Turnout in Regional Perspective

Economic Performance and Turnout in Regional Perspective

A Multilevel Analysis of German Districts

(p.129) 7 Economic Performance and Turnout in Regional Perspective
Voters and Voting in Context

André Förster

Malte Kaukal

Oxford University Press

Following the idea that the behavior of individuals is framed by their contextual setting, this chapter tackles the persistent research gap regarding the impact of regionally varying economic performance on individual turnout. By looking at German districts and applying a multilevel design, we analyze the interplay of an individual’s characteristics and the regional economic performance regarding the decision to cast a vote. Results do not show a direct effect of regional economic performance in the data for 2009 and 2013, but high regional unemployment rates enforce the negative effect of individual unemployment on turnout in the German federal election in 2009, in the middle of the European economic crisis. Additionally, we find evidence that during this crisis election in 2009, East Germans seem to be more susceptible to economic threat scenarios than West Germans, as the former tend to withdraw from voting when regional unemployment rates are high.

Keywords:   turnout, regional economic performance, contextual effects, East/West Germany comparison, multilevel analysis

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