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The Bright Side of the Economic Crisis: The Attribution of Political Responsibilities in Hard Times

  • Guillermo Cordero (a1) and Ignacio Lago (a2)

We examine the impact of the current economic crisis on the accuracy of responsibility attribution between levels of government within states. Using individual-level data from Spain, we show that learning about responsibility attribution depends on the saliency of the issue (in our study, unemployment) and economic self-interest. The (unintended) positive consequence of economic crisis is that citizens are now more able to accurately attribute the responsibility for political decisions than some years ago. Learning is particularly significant among those individuals more affected by the economic crisis.


Nous analysons l'impact de la crise économique actuelle sur l'attribution de la responsabilité aux différents niveaux de gouvernements dans des États. Selon des données individuelles d'enquêtes espagnoles, nous démontrons que l'attribution correcte des responsabilités dépend de la prépondérance du sujet en question (dans notre étude, le chômage) et de l'intérêt économique de chacun. La conséquence (non intentionelle) de la crise économique est qu'aujourd'hui les citoyens sont capables d'attribuer de manière plus précise la responsabilité des décisions politiques qu'il y a quelques ans. L'apprentissage est encore plus grand entre les individus les plus touchés par la crise économique.

Corresponding author
Department of Political Science, University of Madrid, Office 6. Edificio de Ciencias Jurídicas, Marie Curie 1, 28049–Madrid, email:
Department of Political Science, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Office 20.108. Edifici Jaume I, Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, 08005–Barcelona, email:
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
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  • EISSN: 1744-9324
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