, Volume 110, Issue 1-2, pp 143-162

Presidential Party, Incumbency, and the Effects of Economic Fluctuations on House Elections, 1916–1996

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Abstract

There is little professional consensusregarding the effect of economic conditionson House Elections. We argue that recentwork still uses the paradigm of Party toorganize their data and tests. Given thatrecent developments in the theory ofcongress emphasize the paradigm ofIncumbency, we investigate the empiricalrelevance of that competing paradigm. Weshow that (1) Incumbency matters in a purePresidential Party Model of HouseElections, (2) Presidential Party mattersin a pure Incumbency Model, (3) Once bothParty and Incumbency are accounted for,economic conditions exert a highlysignificant and temporally stable influenceon House elections, (4) Return Rates aremore affected by economic fluctuations thanare Vote Shares, and (5) Not allPresidential Party incumbents face the samedegree of electoral accountability foreconomic fluctuations.