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Voters’ wrath? Policy change and government popularity

Arndt, C., Jensen, C. and Wenzelburger, G. (2021) Voters’ wrath? Policy change and government popularity. Governance, 34 (1). pp. 147-169. ISSN 1468-0491

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/gove.12483


Recent research suggests that voters are bad at responding in a meaningful way to policy events when deciding for whom to vote. Voters rely on so-called ”blind retrospection,” punishing governments for events outside politicians’ control. However, another core aspect of the blind retrospection perspective has not been put to the test: are voters unable to respond to policy decisions that clearly are under the politicians’ control? We construct a unique large-N dataset on legislative changes in German old age pensions and unemployment protection to see if cutbacks and expansions lead to lower/higher support for the government. Our data are exceptionally fine-grained and allow us to track the policy-vote link for 416 months from 1977 to 2013 with a total of 329,167 respondents. We find substantial support for the notion that voters react in a meaningful way to policy changes, but also that they can be distracted by high-profile, extreme events.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:88837


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