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Compared to what? Media-guided reference points and relative economic voting

Park, B. B. ORCID: (2019) Compared to what? Media-guided reference points and relative economic voting. Electoral Studies, 62. 102085. ISSN 0261-3794

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.electstud.2019.102085


The idea of the relative economy, or benchmarking economic voting, has been around for a long time. However, the choice of international benchmark(s) remains underspecified, especially in cross-national and time-series studies. This paper argues that the selection process of benchmark(s) should be guided by the theory suggesting that voters benchmark countries that are similar, familiar, and connected, and that media guide voters to appreciate these reference points. Using domestic media coverage from Lexis-Nexis spanning 22 languages, 29 democracies, and over 30 years, this research identifies the unique reference points across time and space. Analysis of this novel dataset shows that voters react strongly to relative economic performance when they make vote choices. Moreover, the benchmarking effects become more pronounced with highly educated populations, but are not affected by clarity of responsibility.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:92853

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