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The VP-function revisited: a survey of the literature on vote and popularity functions after over 40 years

Abstract

Nannestad and Paldam (Public Choice 79:213–245, 1994) published herein an extremely influential review of the literature linking economics and elections, what they called the “VP functions.” In that work, they offered a number of conclusions, in proposition form, about the state of the evidence in this field. We present the key ones (16 in all), and assess the extent to which they continue to hold, in light of the new evidence about what has come to be known as economic voting. As shall be shown, Nannestad and Paldam were prescient in their early establishment of many of the principal results explaining how the economy moves the vote choice.

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Notes

  1. One partial exception comes from the investigation of Van der Brug et al. (2007: 181), who find that under conditions wherein responsibility is unclear, the prospective effect might be stronger. We focus further on such conditionalities below.

  2. It is worth noting that the Standard Error of Estimate, in some ways a better measure of comparative model fit, follows the same rank-order as these adjusted R-squareds.

  3. For current reviews of the election forecasting literature on the United States and other countries, see Lewis-Beck and Tien (2011), Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier (2014), and the annotated bibliography of Stegmaier and Norpoth (2013).

  4. But, as we noted earlier with regard to the use of approval as an independent variable, here vote (t−1) is influenced by the economic conditions leading up to that earlier election, underscoring the complexity involved in identifying the strength of the p- and e-parts.

  5. Cohabitation is when the French President and Prime Minister hail from different political parties.

  6. When indirect effects and reciprocal links between economic and political variables are taken into account, in systems of equations, this judgment may be qualified.

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Acknowledgements

The contributions of Martin Paldam to the fields of economics and political science are many. For us, foremost are his contributions to economic voting, that is, to tracing out the lines of connection between the economy and the democratic vote. His early work is well-represented in his seminal paper with Peter Nannestad, a paper honored in the review at hand. Martin’s work was pioneering, and most of his key findings have withstood the test of time as this review demonstrates. Moreover, his current efforts continue to shape the research agenda of political economists the world over. To Martin Paldam we scholars of economic voting owe a great debt.

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Lewis-Beck, M.S., Stegmaier, M. The VP-function revisited: a survey of the literature on vote and popularity functions after over 40 years. Public Choice 157, 367–385 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-013-0086-6

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Keywords

  • Economic voting
  • Elections
  • Popularity
  • Vote functions
  • Government support