Voting functions in the EU-15
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This paper examines whether the European integration process, by transferring policy instruments to supra-national authorities, has affected voters’ evaluations of governments’ economic performance at elections. The analysis is implemented on a panel of 15 EU countries, from 1970 to 2011. Results suggest that before the Maastricht Treaty, citizens held incumbents responsible for GDP growth and for the evolution of inflation, particularly when measured relative to the EU average. After the Maastricht Treaty, there was a significant reduction in the impact of economic variables, especially inflation, on electoral outcomes. During the current economic crisis the capacity to control the budget deficit appears to be the main determinant of incumbents’ vote shares.
KeywordsVote functions EU-15 Economics Deficits
JEL ClassificationH6 D72 E6 F02
The author thanks Francisco Veiga, Miguel Portela, Luis Aguiar-Conraria, participants at the Martin Paldam Workshop and two anonymous referees for valuable comments. The financial support provided by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), under research grant PTDC/EGE-ECO/118501/2010 (partially funded by FEDER) is gratefully acknowledged. The article also benefited from the efficient research assistance of Hélder Alves.
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