National Forces v. Local Forces: French Regional Elections
Université François Rabelais de Tours
Michael S. Lewis-Beck
University of Iowa - Department of Political Science
APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper
In French national elections, the presence of a national economic vote is clear. However, the character of the economic vote is less clear at the regional level. Assuming regional elections are second order, voters may wish to signal the national incumbent, by rewarding or punishing it for national economic performance. One implication is that the regional executive will not be held responsible for the regional economic situation. Therefore, in the case of a difficult regional economic situation, the regional executive will be punished by voters only if it is from the same political side as the national executive. If the regional executive is from a party opposed to the national executive, it may even be rewarded by voters, in the face of locally adverse economic conditions. These hypotheses are tested against regional economic and political data at regional level from all the French regional elections (including 2010). The empirical results show that French regional elections are definitively national events. Voters use these elections to express their opinion regarding national government performance. This study demonstrates, for the first time, that these local elections are typical second-order contests.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: French elections, second order election, economic voting
JEL Classification: D72working papers series
Date posted: July 19, 2010 ; Last revised: August 5, 2010
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