Iceland on the Rocks: Self Interest and Sovereign Debt Resettlement
Posted: 21 May 2012 Last revised: 22 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
We undertake an individual-level analysis of mass political behavior toward sovereign debt resettlement by leveraging the unique circumstances of a 2011 referendum on debt repayment in Iceland. This allows us to engage broader questions about mass international political economy. Against the recent thrust of a growing literature, we find evidence of material economic “pocketbook” effects — self-interest — on voting behavior, operating alongside symbolic/sociotropic and partisan/political logics. Contrary to expectations, these self-interest effects are not conditional on voter sophistication. We conclude that conventional sampling frames may be inappropriate for understanding contemporary democratic contestation over international economic policy.
Keywords: International political economy, self-interest, public opinion, sovereign debt
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