Are Parties Punished for Breaking Electoral Promises? Market Oriented Reforms and the Left in Post-Communist Countries

34 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2019 Last revised: 13 Nov 2019

See all articles by Cristina Bodea

Cristina Bodea

Michigan State University

Tanya Bagashka

University of Houston

Sung Min Han

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Date Written: March 27, 2019

Abstract

Do voters punish left-wing parties that pursue neo-liberal policies? We address the question in the context of post-communist countries, where the left implemented painful market-oriented reforms. For the left, owning these reforms means backing away from its policy platform and plausibly generates two electorally consequential outcomes: A “brand dilution” effect that weakens voters’ attachment to left parties and is magnified by the economic vulnerability of the left’s core constituency; And an “expectations effect” that increases demand for right wing politicians. Overall, the left should lose votes, particularly when voters can easily attribute policy responsibility. Our analysis uses updated data on the vote shares for all parties and elections in post-communist democracies from 1991 to 2010. We find support for the theory: Left-wing parties of the chief executive are punished at the ballot box for moving to the right on economic policy and this, likely, comes from a ‘brad dilution’ effect.

Keywords: Post-communist, left-wing parties, party platform, vote shares, market reforms

JEL Classification: P, P2, P3

Suggested Citation

Bodea, Cristina and Bagashka, Tanya and Han, Sung Min, Are Parties Punished for Breaking Electoral Promises? Market Oriented Reforms and the Left in Post-Communist Countries (March 27, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3361134 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3361134

Cristina Bodea (Contact Author)

Michigan State University ( email )

Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
United States

Tanya Bagashka

University of Houston ( email )

4800 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204
United States

Sung Min Han

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics ( email )

777 Guoding Road
Shanghai, Shanghai 200433
China

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