Attribution Error in Economic Voting: Evidence From Trade Shocks
41 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 2014
This paper exploits the international transmission of business cycles to examine the prevalence of attribution error in economic voting in a large panel of countries from 1990-2009. We find that voters, on average, exhibit a strong tendency to oust incumbent governments during an economic downturn, regardless of whether the recession is home-grown or merely imported from trading partners. However, we find important heterogeneity in the extent of attribution error. A split sample analysis shows that countries with more experienced voters, more educated voters, and possibly more informed voters — all conditions which have been shown to mitigate other voter agency problems — do better in distinguishing imported from domestic growth.
Keywords: economic voting, political agency problem
JEL Classification: E3, E6
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation