Acta Politica

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 369–371 | Cite as

The economic voter and economic crisis

  • Ruth Dassonneville
  • Michael S Lewis-Beck

Theories of economic voting have a long tradition in political science and continue to inspire a large group of scholars. Classical economic voting theory assumes a reward-and-punishment mechanism (Key, 1966). This mechanism implies that incumbents are more likely to stay in power under a good economy, but are cast out under a bad economy (Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier, 2000). The economy has repeatedly been shown to be a major determinant of electoral behavior (see especially the recent book by Duch and Stevenson, 2008), but the current economic crisis seems to provide a marked illustration of how the economy affects voting. In recent elections across the Western industrialized world, most ruling coalitions lost their majority. Opposition parties, on the other hand, whether right wing or left wing, have appeared to benefit from the economic downturn.

The clear pattern of voters punishing their government during the current economic crisis does raise the question whether the impact of the...


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Dassonneville
    • 1
  • Michael S Lewis-Beck
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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