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
Date Written: March 27, 2019
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: Suggested Citation