Okolikj, M. (2015) Quality of Government and Incumbents Performance: A Re-conceptualisation of Economic Voting Theory

Abstract: A conventional wisdom among scholars of electoral studies holds that good economic performance correlates with incumbent government advantage in elections. Yet, cross national empirical studies of this reward-punishment hypothesis produces inconsistent and relatively weak results. The aim of this study is to re-conceptualise the retrospective economic voting model by taking into account the mediating factor of quality of government. I argue that the quality of government is the missing link that determines electoral behaviour and impacts on the link between economic performance and vote choice. Economic performance without taking in consideration the economic and social development, i.e. good governance, lacks an essential part that would explain voters behaviour. Thus, this study provides evidence of rational retrospective voting when quality of government is incorporated in the economic voting model.