The Endogenous Economy: 'Real' Economic Conditions, Subjective Economic Evaluations and Government Support
Title: The Endogenous Economy: 'Real' Economic Conditions, Subjective Economic Evaluations and Government Support
Citation: Acta Politica, 2007, 42, 1, 1-22
Conventional wisdom holds that the state of the economy is closely linked to the outcomes of elections: incumbent governments tend to be rewarded for good economic times and punished for bad ones. It has been suggested that the 'subjective economy' — people's assessments of the state of the economy — links actual economic conditions to support for the government. Indicators of such assessments are therefore frequently included in voter surveys. Such subjective information has been criticized, however, as being endogenous: being caused by rather than a cause of vote choice. The purpose of this paper is to assess the relevance of the subjective economy for linking objective economic conditions and support for the government at the individual level. To this end, we specify and estimate a series of rivaling causal models, and compare them in terms of fit and parsimony. We find unambiguous support for the endogeneity interpretation of the subjective economy, which implies that it cannot play a sensible role in the causal elaboration of economic voting models.
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