Do perceived economic constraints affect performance voting?

Abstract

One of the purported effects of international integration is that voters ar¬¬e less able, or less willing, to punish or reward incumbents for economic performance: since governments are less able to influence economic outcomes, this consideration weighs less for voters at the ballot box. This would have serious implications for democratic legitimacy. Yet the balancing demands hypothesis predicts voters compensate for this by judging incumbents on non-economic performance instead. In this paper, we critique this theory theoretically and empirically, putting it to the test for one of the first times at the individual level. Combining perceptions of policy performance across six issue areas with novel survey items which measure perceptions of economic policy, we show that whilst performance voting does occur, there is no support for the balancing demands hypothesis. Voting based on performance in economic or non-economic areas remains largely unrelated to perceptions of constraint.

Publication
West European Politics