Public Choice

, Volume 157, Issue 3–4, pp 411–428 | Cite as

Voting functions in the EU-15

  • Linda Gonçalves Veiga


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.


Vote functions EU-15 Economics Deficits 

JEL Classification

H6 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.


  1. Aguiar-Conraria, L., & Magalhães, P. (2010). Referendum design, quorum rules and turnout. Public Choice, 144, 63–81. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aidt, T., Veiga, F., & Veiga, L. (2011). Election results and opportunistic policies: a new test of the rational political business cycle model. Public Choice, 148, 21–44. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Akhmedov, A., & Zhuravskaya, E. (2004). Opportunistic political cycles: test in a young democracy setting. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 119, 1301–1338. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alesina, A., Carloni, D., & Lecce, G. (2012). The electoral consequences of large fiscal adjustments. NBER working paper 17655. Google Scholar
  5. Beck, T., Clarke, G., Groff, A., Keefer, P., & Walsh, P. (2001). New tools in comparative political economy: the database of political institutions. World Bank Economic Review, 15(1), 165–176. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brender, A. (2003). The effect of fiscal performance on local government election results in Israel: 1989–1998. Journal of Public Economics, 87, 2187–2205. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brender, A., & Drazen, A. (2008). How do budget deficits and economic growth affect reelection prospects? Evidence from a large panel of countries. The American Economic Review, 98(5), 2203–2220. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brug, W., Eijk, C., & Franklin, M. (2007). The economy and the vote: economic conditions and elections in fifteen countries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chappell, W., & Veiga, L. (2000). Economics and elections in western Europe: 1960–1997. Electoral Studies, 19, 183–197. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Drazen, A., & Eslava, M. (2010). Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: theory and evidence. Journal of Development Economics, 92(1), 39–52. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dubin, J., & Kalsow, G. A. (1996). Comparing absentee and precinct voters: a view over time. Political Behavior, 18(4), 369–392. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Duch, R. M., & Stevenson, R. T. (2008). The economic vote—how political institutions condition election results. New York: Cambridge University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ferejohn, J. (1986). Incumbent performance and electoral control. Public Choice, 50, 5–25. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ferrari, S. L. P., & Cribari-Neto, F. (2004). Beta regression for modelling rates and proportions. Journal of Applied Statistics, 31(7), 799–815. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jones, M. P., Meloni, O., & Tommasi, M. (2012). Voters as fiscal liberals: incentives and accountability in federal systems. Economics and Politics, 24(2), 135–156. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kieschnick, R., & McCullough, B. D. (2003). Regression analysis of variates observed on (0,1): percentages, proportions and fractions. Statistical Modelling, 3, 193–213. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lewis-Beck, M. (1988). Economics and elections: the major western democracies. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Google Scholar
  18. Maddala, G. S., & Lahiri, K. (2009). Introduction to econometrics (4th ed.). New York: Wiley. Google Scholar
  19. McFadden, D. (1981). Econometric models of probabilistic choice. In C. F. Manski & D. McFadden (Eds.), Structural analysis of discrete data with econometric applications, Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  20. Martins, R., & Veiga, F. (2013). Economic voting in Portuguese municipal elections. Public Choice, 155, 317–334. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nannested, P., & Paldam, M. (1994). The VP-function: a survey of the literature on vote and popularity functions after 25 years. Public Choice, 94(79), 213–245. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nannestad, P., & Paldam, M. (1997). The grievance asymmetry revisited: a micro study of economic voting in Denmark, 1986–92. European Journal of Political Economy, 13, 81–99. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nannestad, P., & Paldam, M. (2002). The cost of ruling: a foundation stone for two theories. In H. Dorussen & M. Taylor (Eds.), Economic voting, London: Routledge. Google Scholar
  24. Pacek, A., & Radcliff, B. (1995). Economic voting and the welfare state: a cross-national analysis. The Journal of Politics, 57(1), 44–61. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Paldam, M. (1986). The distribution of election results and the two explanations of the cost of rulling. European Journal of Political Economy, 2(1), 5–24. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Paldam, M. (1991). How robust is the vote function? A study of seventeen nations over four decades. In H. Norpoth, M. Lewis-Beck, & J. Lay (Eds.), Economics and politics: the calculus of support (pp. 9–32). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Google Scholar
  27. Paldam, M. (2004). Are vote and popularity functions economically correct? In C. K. Rowley & F. Schneider (Eds.), The encyclopedia of public choice I (pp. 49–59). Norwell: Kluwer Academic. Google Scholar
  28. Paldam, M., & Høst, V. (1990). An international element in the vote? A comparative study of 17 OECD countries 1948–85. European Journal of Political Research, 18(2), 221–239. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Paldam, M., & Skott, P. (1995). A rational-voter explanation of the cost of ruling. Public Choice, 83, 159–172. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Paolino, P. (2001). Maximum likelihood estimation of models with beta-distributed dependent variables. Political Analysis, 9(4), 325–346. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Papke, L. E., & Wooldridge, J. M. (2008). Panel data methods for fractional response variables with an application to test pass rates. Journal of Econometrics, 145, 121–133. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Peltzman, S. (1992). Voters as fiscal conservatives. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 107, 325–345. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Powell, G. B. Jr., & Whitten, G. D. (1993). A cross-national analysis of economic voting: taking account of the political context. American Journal of Political Science, 37(2), 391–414. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rogoff, K. (1990). Equilibrium political budget cycles. The American Economic Review, 80, 21–36. Google Scholar
  35. Rogoff, K., & Sibert, A. (1988). Elections and macroeconomic policy cycles. Review of Economics Studies, 55, 1–16. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sakurai, S., & Menezes-Filho, N. (2008). Fiscal policy and reelection in Brazilian municipalities. Public Choice, 137, 301–314. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Smithson, M., & Verkuilen, J. (2006). A better lemon squeezer? Maximum likelihood regression with beta-distributed dependent variables. Psychological Methods, 11(1), 54–71. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Veiga, L., & Veiga, F. (2007). Does opportunism pay-off? Economics Letters, 96(2), 177–182. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Núcleo de Investigação em Políticas EconómicasUniversidade do MinhoBragaPortugal

Personalised recommendations