Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-ndjvl Total loading time: 0.606 Render date: 2022-05-29T09:18:27.723Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

The Compleat Economic Voter: New Theory and British Evidence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 September 2012

Abstract

Almost all the prolific work done on economic voting has been based on the classic reward–punishment model, which treats the economy as a valence issue. The economy is a valence issue, but it is much more than that. This article explores two other dimensions of economic voting – position and patrimony. Investigating a 2010 British survey containing relevant measures on these three dimensions, the authors estimate their impact on vote intention, using a carefully specified system of equations. According to the evidence reported, each dimension of economic voting has its own independent effect. Moreover, together, they reveal a ‘compleat’ economic voter, who wields considerable power over electoral choice in Britain. This new result confirms and extends recent work on American and French elections.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

*

Lewis-Beck – Department of Political Science, University of Iowa (email: michael-lewis-beck@uiowa.edu; Nadeau and Foucault – Department of Political Science, Université de Montréal. This article was first presented at the Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association, Seattle, 2011. An appendix can be found on the Journal's website at http://www.journals.cambridge.org/jps.

References

1 Duch, Raymond and Stevenson, Randy, The Economic Vote: How Political and Economic Institutions Condition Election Results (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Lewis-Beck, Michael S. and Stegmaier, Mary, ‘Economic Determinants of Electoral Outcomes’, Annual Review of Political Science, 3 (2000), 183–219 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Lewis-Beck, Michael S. and Stegmaier, Mary, ‘Economic Models of the Vote’, in Russell Dalton and Hans-Dieter Klingemann, eds, The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 518–37 Google Scholar

Lewis-Beck, Michael S. and Stegmaier, Mary, ‘The Economic Vote in Transitional Democracies’, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties, 18 (2008), 303–23 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Norpoth, Helmut, LeDuc, ‘The Economy’ in Laurence, Niemi, Richard G. and Norris, Pippa eds, Comparing Democracies: Elections and Voting in Global Perspectives (Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1996)Google Scholar

Nannestad, Peter and Paldam, Martin, ‘The VP Function: A Survey of the Literature on Vote and Popularity Functions after 25 Years’, Public Choice, 79 (1994), 213–45 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

2 Anderson, Christopher, ‘The End of Economic Voting? Contingency Dilemmas and the Limits of Democratic Accountability’, Annual Review of Political Scienc, 10 (2007), 271–96 Google Scholar

Bellucci, Paolo and Lewis-Beck, Michael S., ‘A Stable Popularity Function? Cross-National Analysis’, European Journal of Political Research, 50 (2011), 190–211 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Evans, Geoffrey and Anderson, Robert, ‘The Political Conditioning of Economic Perceptions’, Journal of Politics, 68 (2006), 194–207 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Lewis-Beck, Michael S.Nadeau, Richard and Elias, Angelo, ‘Economics, Party and the Vote: Causality Issues and Panel Data’, American Journal of Political Science, 52 (2008), 84–95 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

3 Kiewiet, D. Roderick, Macroeconomics and Micropolitics: The Electoral Effects of Economic Issues (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1983)Google Scholar

Lewis-Beck, Michael S. and Nadeau, Richard, ‘Obama and the Economy in 2008’, Political Science & Politics, 42 (2009), 479–83 Google Scholar

4 Nadeau, RichardFoucault, Martial and Lewis-Beck, Michael S., ‘Patrimonial Economic Voting: Legislative Elections in France’, West European Politics, 33 (2010), 1261–77 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

5 Lewis-Beck, Michael S. and Nadeau, Richard, ‘Economic Voting Theory: Neglected Dimensions’, Electoral Studies, 30 (2011), 288–94 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6 Lewis-Beck and Nadeau, ‘Obama and the Economy in 2008’; and Lewis-Beck and Nadeau, ‘Economic Voting Theory’, on the 2008 US presidential election; Richard Nadeau, Martial Foucault and Michael S. Lewis-Beck, ‘Assets and Risk: A Neglected Dimension of Economic Voting’, French Politics, 9 (2011), 97–119 Google Scholar

Foucault, MartialNadeau, Richard and Lewis-Beck, Michael S., ‘La persistance de l'effet patrimoine lors des élections présidentielles françaises’, Revue française de science politique, 61 (2011), 659–80 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

7 Lewis-Beck, Michael S. and Paldam, Martin, ‘Economic Voting: An Introduction’, Electoral Studies, 19 (2000), 113–21 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

8 Clarke, Harold D., Sanders, DavidStewart, Marianne C. and Whiteley, Paul, ‘Valence Politics and Electoral Choice in Britain, 2010’, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 21 (2011), 237–53 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

9 Stein, Jess ed., Random House Dictionary of the English Language, The Unabridged Edition (New York: Random House, 1967)Google Scholar

10 Clarke, Harold D., Sanders, DavidStewart, Marianne C. and Whiteley, Paul, Political Choice in Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

11 Stokes, Donald E., ‘Spatial Models of Party Competition’, American Political Science Review, 57 (1963), 368–77 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

12 Butler, David and Stokes, Donald E., Political Change in Britain (New York: St. Martin's, 1969)Google Scholar

13 Butler and Stokes, Political Change in Britain, p. 392Google Scholar

14 Clarke, Harold D., Sanders, DavidStewart, Marianne C. and Whiteley, Paul, Performance Politics and the British Vote (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

15 Morris P. Fiorina, Retrospective Voting in American National Elections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press 1981), pp. 6, 26)Google Scholar

Kinder, Donald R. and Kiewiet, D. Roderick, ‘Sociotropic Politics: The American Case’, British Journal of Political Science, 11 (1981), 129–61 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

16 Downs, Anthony, Economic Theory of Democracy (New York: Harper and Row, 1957)Google Scholar

17 Stokes, ‘Spatial Models of Party Competition’, p. 373.

18 Franklin, Mark, The Decline of Class Voting in Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)Google Scholar

Heath, AnthonyJowell, Roger M. and Curtice, John K., How Britain Votes (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1985)Google Scholar

Rose, Richard and McAllister, Ian, Voters Begin to Choose (London: Sage Publications, 1986)Google Scholar

Rose, Richard and McAllister, Ian, The Loyalties of Voters: A Lifetime Learning Model (London: Sage Publications, 1990)Google Scholar

Särlvik, Bo and Crewe, Ivor, Decade of Dealignment: The Conservative Victory of 1970 and Electoral Trends in the 1970s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983)Google Scholar

Lewis-Beck, Michael S., Jacoby, William G.Norpoth, Helmut and Weisberg, Herbert F., The American Voter Revisited (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

19 Butler and Stokes, Political Change in Britain, pp. 188–9.

20 Butler and Stokes, Political Change in Britain, p. 177.

21 Downs, Economic Theory of Democracy.

22 Kiewiet, D. Roderick, Macroeconomics and Micropolitics: The Electoral Effects of Economic Issues (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1983)Google Scholar

23 Abramson, Paul A.Aldrich, John H. and Rohde, David W., Change and Continuity in the 2000 Elections (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2003)Google Scholar

William H. Flanagan and Nancy Zingale, Political Behavior of the American Electorate, 11th edn (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Press Quarterly, 2006), pp. 115–18Google Scholar

24 Bartels, Larry, Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2008)Google Scholar

Stonecash, Jeffrey M., Class and Party in American Politics (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2000)Google Scholar

25 Page, Benjamin I. and Jacobs, Lawrence R., Class War? What Americans Really Think about Economic Inequality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

26 Marx, KarlEngels, Friedrich and Hobsbawm, Eric J., The Communist Manifesto: A Modern Edition (London: Verso, 2012)Google Scholar

Popper, Karl, The Open Society and Its Enemies, vol. 2 (Hegel and Marx) (London and New York: Routledge, 1945)Google Scholar

27 Lewis-Beck, Jacoby, Norpoth and Weisberg, The American Voter Revisited.

28 Lewis-Beck and Nadeau, ‘Obama and the Economy in 2008’, pp. 479–83.

29 Jed Donoghue, Bruce Tranter and Robert White, ‘Homeownership, Shareownership and Coalition Policy’, Journal of Australian Political Economy, 52 (2003), 58–82, p. 71.

30 Troy, Patrick, ‘Suburbs of Acquiescence, Suburbs of Protest’, Housing Studies, 15 (2000), 717–38 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

McAllister, Ian, ‘Housing Tenure and Party Choice in Australia, Britain and the United States’, British Journal of Political Science, 14 (1984), 509–22 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

31 Dunleavy, Patrick, ‘The Urban Basis of Political Alignment: Social Class, Domestic Property Ownership, and State Intervention in Consumption Processes’, British Journal of Political Science, 9 (1979), 409–43 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Dunleavy, Patrick and Husbands, Christopher, British Democracy at the Crossroads (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1985)Google Scholar

32 Donoghue, JedTranter, Bruce and White, Robert, ‘Homeownership, Shareownership and Coalition Policy’, Journal of Australian Political Economy, 52 (2003), 58–82 Google Scholar

33 Saunders, Peter R., ‘Citizenship in a Liberal Society’, in B. Turner, ed., Citizenship and Social Theory (London: Sage, 1993)Google Scholar

34 Butler, David E. and Kavanagh, Dennis, The British General Election of 1983 (London: Macmillan, 1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

35 Heath, Anthony, Evans, GeoffreyField, Julia and Witherspoon, Sharon, Understanding Political Change: The British Voter 1964–1987 (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1991)Google Scholar

Saunders, Peter, ‘Privatization, State Ownership and Voting’, British Journal of Political Science, 25 (1995), 131–7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Studlar, Donley T.McAllister, Ian and Ascui, Alvaro, ‘Privatization and the British Electorate: Microeconomic Policies, Macroeconomic Evaluations, and Party Support’, American Journal of Political Science, 34 (1990), 1077–101 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

36 Charlot, Monica, Charlot, ‘Un effet patrimoine?’ in Monica ed., L'Effet Thatcher (Paris: Economica, 1989)Google Scholar

Capdevielle, Jacques, Dupoirier, Elisabeth, Grunberg, GérardSchweisguth, Etienne and Ysmal, Colette, France de gauche, vote à droite (Paris: Presses de la Fondation nationale de science politique, 1981)Google Scholar

37 Lewis-Beck and Nadeau, ‘Obama and the Economy in 2008’, pp. 479–83Google Scholar

38 Interestingly, they differ greatly from US preferences, where the majority of that electorate does not favour a progressive tax structure, in contrast to British electorate here; Lewis-Beck and Nadeau, ‘Obama and the Economy in 2008’.

39 Atkinson, Anthony B. and Saez, Emmanuel, ‘Top Incomes in the Long Run of History’, in Anthony B. Atkinson and Thomas Piketty, eds, Top Incomes: A Global Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)Google Scholar

40 Atkinson, Anthony B., ‘Top Incomes in the UK over the Twentieth Century’, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 168 (2005), 325–43 Google Scholar

Atkinson, Anthony B., ‘The Distribution of Top Incomes in the United Kingdom 1908–2000’, in Anthony B. Atkinson and Thomas Piketty, eds, Top Incomes over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)Google Scholar

41 Jones, FrancisAnnan, Daniel and Shah, Saef, ‘The Distribution of Household Income, 1977 to 2006/07’, Economic and Labour Market Review, 2:12 (2008), 18–31Google Scholar

42 Banks, JamesBlundell, Richard and Smith, James P., ‘Wealth Portfolios in the UK and the US’, NBER Working Paper 9128 (2002)Google Scholar

43 Data from the French Election Studies and the CCAP project for the 2008 US presidential election confirm that the proportion of stock owners is quite similar in France and Britain and clearly higher in the United States; this reassuring finding suggests that the survey items used in the study at hand aptly capture the structure of wealth ownership in different countries; for the French case, see Nadeau, Foucault and Lewis-Beck, ‘Assets and Risk’; Nadeau, Foucault and Lewis-Beck, ‘Patrimonial Economic Voting’; and Foucault, Nadeau and Lewis-Beck, ‘La persistance de l'effet patrimoine lors des élections présidentielles françaises’; for the US case, see Lewis-Beck and Nadeau ‘Economic Voting Theory’.

44 Dunleavy, Patrick, The Politics of Mass Housing in Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981)Google Scholar

45 Saunders, A Nation of Home Owners.

46 Berman, Margo, ‘Examining Risk Attitudes’, Complexity, 9:5 (2004), 25–30 Google Scholar

47 A good portion of these properties are mortgaged. However, as shall be see below in fn. 59, there are no significant differences in the vote choices of these respondents, compared to those who own their homes outright.

48 Benartzi, Shlomo and Thaler, Richard H., ‘Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110 (1995), 73–92 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Dahlback, Olof, ‘Saving and Risk Taking’, Journal of Economic Psychology, 12 (1991), 479–500 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Huang, C. and Litzenberger, R. H., Foundations for Financial Economics (New York: Elsevier Science, 1988)Google Scholar

49 These variables were rescaled between 0 and 1. See the appendix available online.

50 Knight, Frank, Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit (Boston, Mass.: Hart, Schaffner and Marx, 1921)Google Scholar

51 Bergman, Margo, ‘Examining Risk Attitudes’, Complexity, 9:5 (2004), 25–30Google Scholar

To, Ted, ‘Risk and Evolution’, Economic Theory, 13 (1999), 329–43 Google Scholar

52 Arrondel, Luc, ‘Risk Management and Wealth Accumulation Behavior in France’, Economics Letters, 74 (2002), 187–94 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Arrondel, Luc and ménages’, Hector Calvo Pardo. ‘Les Français sont-ils prudents? Patrimoine et risque sur les revenus des, PSE Working Papers 2007–16 (Paris: School of Economics, École normale supérieure, 2008)Google Scholar

53 Benartzi and Thaler, ‘Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzl’; Dahlback, ‘Saving and Risk Taking’; Huang and Litzenberger, Foundations for Financial Economics.

54 Alberto Alesina and Howard Rosenthal, Partisan Politics, Divided Government, and the Economy, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995)Google Scholar

Boix, Carles, ‘Partisan Governments, the International Economy and Macroeconomic Policies in OECD Countries, 1964–93’, World Politics, 53 (2000), 38–73 Google Scholar

55 McClosky, Herbert and Zaller, John, The American Ethos: Public Attitudes towards Capitalism and Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

56 As discussed, earlier work has shown that home ownership was linked to Conservative support (this finding does not extend to the democracies of the United States, Australia and France, see fnn. 30–33). This may have changed as the memories of the 1980s sale of social housing by the Thatcher Government faded. Furthermore, besides being a low-risk investment, home ownership is also increasingly perceived as a social right associated with modern citizenship. See Saunders, A Nation of Home Owners; Saunders, ‘Citizenship in a Liberal Society’. Overall, the motivations and dispositions associated with home ownership suggest that its impact on vote choice will be less pronounced than that for high-risk assets.

57 Campbell, Angus, Converse, Philp E.Miller, Warren E. and Stokes, Donald E., The American Voter (New York: Wiley and Sons, 1960)Google Scholar

58 On the funnel of causality, see Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes, The American Voter, chap. 2; for a graphical update of the funnel, see Lewis-Beck, Jacoby, Norpoth and Weisberg, The American Voter Revisited, chap. 2.

59 Furthermore, it makes no difference whether the homes are mortgaged or not. First, bivariate analyses show virtually no differences between respondents owning their home outright and those owning it with a mortgage: support for the Conservative parties in both groups is the same at 45 per cent (the comparable figures for Labour are 19 and 17 per cent respectively). Secondly, this variable (mortgage = 1, 0 otherwise) is never significant when included in our models.

60 On this point, see Lewis-Beck, Jacoby, Norpoth and Weisberg, The American Voter Revisited, pp. 223–9.

61 Clarke, Sanders, Stewart and Whiteley, Political Choice in Britain, chap. 4.

62 Since the two variables are scaled to the same, 0–1 metric, the magnitude of their coefficients can be compared: 1.30/ 0.90 = 1.44.

63 Kaplan, David, Structural Equation Modeling: Foundations and Extensions (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2000)Google Scholar

Peter Kennedy, A Guide to Econometrics, 6th edn (New York: Wiley and Sons, 2008)Google Scholar

64 Lewis-Beck and Nadeau, ‘Obama and the Economy in 2008’.

65 Michael Lewis-Beck, Richard Nadeau and Éric Bélanger. French Presidential Elections (Basingtoke, Hants.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, forthcoming)Google Scholar

66 Donoghue, Tranter and White, ‘Homeownership, Shareownership and Coalition Policy’; Troy, ‘Suburbs of Acquiescence, Suburbs of Protest’.

67 Menard, Scott, Applied Logistic Regression Analysis, Second Edition, No.106 (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

68 Clarke, Sanders, Stewart and Whiteley, ‘Valence Politics and Electoral Choice in Britain’, Table 2.

69 Moreover, it does it parsimoniously, with only 12 independent variables, instead of 38 independent variables as required in the model by Clarke, Sanders, Stewart and Whiteley, ‘Valence Politics and Electoral Choice in Britain’, Table 2.

70 Kiewiet, Macroeconomics and Micropolitics.

71 Kiewiet, Macroeconomics and Micropolitics.

72 Using the equations of Table 4, column 1 and the Table 6, columns 1 and 2, compare the HRA coefficient without and with the egocentric variables included , respectively: Tory vote = 1.00; Labour vote = −1.60; Libdem vote = −1.02 (all significant); Tory vote = 1.00; Labour vote = −1.70; Libdem Vote = −1.06 (all significant).

73 Other possible priorities to select were inflation, trade or growth; a reverse coding is used to get a positive sign for the Tory model.

74 Lewis-Beck and Nadeau. ‘Obama and the Economy in 2008’.

Supplementary material: File

Lewis-Beck Supplementary Material

Appendix

Download Lewis-Beck Supplementary Material(File)
File 28 KB
60
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Compleat Economic Voter: New Theory and British Evidence
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The Compleat Economic Voter: New Theory and British Evidence
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The Compleat Economic Voter: New Theory and British Evidence
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *