Changes since the last edition: • The previous edition didn't quite fit modules on either comparative politics or voters and elections. The new edition is more closely mapped to modules on the latter. • New chapters on authoritarian elections and regime change, and electoral integrity. • Re-inclusion of a chapter on voting behaviour. • Stronger focus on the economy.

The Elusive Economic Vote

The elusive economic vote
Mark A. Kayser

In representative democracy, the governed hold those who govern them accountable. If electorates do not systematically punish elected officials for poor performance, little incentive exists for representatives to pursue the best interests of their constituents. But how do we know that such accountability actually occurs in practice? It is easiest to search for accountability with respect to issues that generate consensus on what is desirable, what are known as valence issues. Everyone, for example, agrees that crime is bad and security is good. Among valence issues, however, one stands out as perennially important to voters: the economy.

Influential research into voting behavior has been conducted since the 1940s (Berelson et al. 1954; Lazarsfeld et al. 1944) ...

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