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

07 May 2021, Version 3
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


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.


Economic voting
Retrospective voting
Voter myopia
Comparative politics


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