Comparative Politics

What's the Half-Life of the Economic Vote? (About a Year and a Half)



Economic voting theory assumes that voters focus their attention on the recent past. Yet testing this assumption is difficult and past research remains inconclusive. I estimate voters' economic time frames using a new model that measures the economic vote and voter myopia at the same time. I show that voter myopia is real. After around a year and a half, economic voting effects half in size. After five years, they approach zero. Yet I find that even economic growth over the past 5 years affects how people vote nonetheless. This is because as economic time frames grow, so too do rates of economic growth. My findings have positive implications. Though they are myopic, voters appear able to hold governments accountable for economic management over the course of their tenure.

Version notes

Implemented a portion of text at the end of my results that shows how the economic vote stacks up over time given its diminishing effect but increasing levels of economic growth. This then led me to revise my conclusions.


Thumbnail image of half-life.pdf


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