Acta Politica

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 372–394

Macroeconomics, economic crisis and electoral outcomes: A national European pool

Original Article

DOI: 10.1057/ap.2014.12

Cite this article as:
Dassonneville, R. & Lewis-Beck, M. Acta Polit (2014) 49: 372. doi:10.1057/ap.2014.12


An abundance of comparative survey research argues the presence of economic voting as an individual force in European elections, thereby refuting a possible ecological fallacy. But the hypothesis of economic voting at the aggregate level, with macroeconomics influencing overall electoral outcomes, seems less sure. Indeed, there might be a micrological fallacy at work, with the supposed individual economic vote effect not adding up to a national electoral effect after all. Certainly that would account for the spotty evidence linking macroeconomics and national election outcomes. We examine the possibility of a micrological fallacy through rigorous analysis of a large time-series-cross-sectional data set of European nations. From these results, it becomes clear that the macroeconomy strongly moves national election outcomes, with hard times punishing governing parties, and good times rewarding them. Further, this economy–election connection appears asymmetric, altering under economic crisis. Indeed, we show that economic crisis, defined as negative growth, has much greater electoral effects than positive economic growth. Hard times clearly make governments more accountable to their electorates.


economic voting macroeconomics economic crisis time-series-cross-sectional data micrological fallacy 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

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