Quinlan, S., & Okolikj, M. (2017) Patrimonial Economic Voting: a Cross-National Analysis of Asset Ownership and its Impact on the Vote (under review)

Abstract: Our study examines the impact possession of assets has on the vote in 32 countries. Most existing scholarship on economic voting has stressed valence models that focus on the rewards and punishments directed at governments by voters depending on their stewardship of the economy. Here, we focus on an alternative dimension – the role of patrimony – asset ownership. We fill an important void by providing the first comprehensive test of patrimony’s effect on the vote cross-nationally. Using Module 4 of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) and hierarchical models, we show that asset ownership increases the likelihood of supporting parties of the right in various countries. This relationship is stronger in rich countries and states with a liberal welfare system, showing macro diversity for patrimony’s influence on voters. Conversely, we find little support that macro variation is a result of party polarisation. Our research contributes to the developing literature on patrimonial voting. Our findings support the principle that economic voting is multidimensional but also highlights that ‘context matters’ for all aspects of economic voting.