Economic responsiveness and the political conditioning of the electoral cycle

Pardos-Prado, S. and Sagarzazu, I. (2019) Economic responsiveness and the political conditioning of the electoral cycle. Journal of Politics, 81(2), pp. 441-455. (doi: 10.1086/701495)

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Understanding the drivers of party issue emphasis and the specific role of public opinion is important to shed light on the mechanisms of contemporary party competition and to assess the quality of representation in liberal democracies. Previous research has produced conflicting results between issue ownership and issue dialogue perspectives and has ignored the role of time in party communication strategy. We present a theory focused on the economy in which proximity to election day increases the incumbent’s cost of not responding to opponent attacks and subsequently decreases the incumbent’s attention to public opinion. We validate the main empirical implications of the model via content analysis of party discourse in Spanish parliamentary speeches (1996–2011) and time series analyses. Our results have pessimistic implications for an ideal conception of bottom-up representation. As electoral accountability pressures increase over the electoral cycle, endogenous party competition overshadows public opinion as a driver of representatives’ agenda.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pardos-Prado, Professor Sergi
Authors: Pardos-Prado, S., and Sagarzazu, I.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Journal of Politics
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN (Online):1468-2508
Published Online:18 January 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Southern Political Science Association
First Published:First published in Journal of Politics 81(2): 441-455
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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