Electoral Responses to Economic Crises

64 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2023

See all articles by Yotam Margalit

Yotam Margalit

Tel Aviv University

Omer Solodoch

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Date Written: July 16, 2023


How do voters respond to economic crises: do they turn against the incumbent, reward a certain political camp, polarize to the extremes, or perhaps continue to vote much like before? Analyzing extensive data on electorates, parties and individuals in 22 countries for over half a century, we document a systematic pattern whereby economic crises tend to disproportionately favor the right. Three main forces underlie this pattern. First, voters tend to decrease support for the party heading the government when the crisis erupts. Second, after crises voters tend to assign greater importance to issues typically owned by the right and turnout increases relatively among right-leaning voters. Third, when center-right parties preside over a crisis, their voters often drift further rightward to nationalist parties rather than defect to the left. The far-right thus serves as an effective lightning rod, keeping the center-right in power even when facing post-crisis disaffection by its voters.

Keywords: economic crises, economic hardship, elections, economic voting, anti-incumbent vote

Suggested Citation

Margalit, Yotam and Solodoch, Omer, Electoral Responses to Economic Crises (July 16, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4512364 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4512364

Yotam Margalit

Tel Aviv University ( email )

Tel Aviv

HOME PAGE: http://www.ymargalit.net

Omer Solodoch (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905

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