Two theoretical propositions come out of the discussion of administrative responsibility in the last chapter, each of which produces a straightforward hypothesis. The first concerns the distribution of the economic vote across parties. Parties with a greater share of the status quo distribution of administrative responsibility will receive a greater share of the economic vote than parties with a smaller share. The second concerns the overall size of the economic vote across all parties in an election. As the status quo distribution of administrative responsibility over parties becomes more equal, the overall economic vote declines.
The main task in testing these empirical hypotheses is the measurement of voters' beliefs about the share of administrative responsibility that each party holds. A variety of indicators of the status quo distribution of policy-making responsibility has been discussed in the literature: the current distribution of cabinet membership, the current distribution of cabinet portfolios, the coalition status of the government, the majority status of the government, the influence of the opposition on the government, the extent of collective cabinet responsibility, the distribution of legislative seats, the distribution of ministries specifically dealing with economic matters, and the role of the president. Furthermore, the values of these variables are so widely reported and so well known that we can assume voters' beliefs about them closely mirror the empirical reality, at least on average.
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