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Economic Voting and Electoral Volatility in Turkish Provinces

Discussion Papers


May 2009


Two groups of questions were addressed: (1) Is voter punishment of the incumbent the primary factor in electoral volatility? Are there any other types of vote swings that underlie volatility? (2) In general, does a decline in economic growth destabilize voter behavior? If so, what kinds of vote swings does an economic downturn tend to generate? Provincial-level panel data analysis yielded the following results: (1) Changes in volatility appear to be primarily due to vote swings from the incumbent to the opposition and also to and from left-wing and right-wing parties. (2) Lower economic growth appears to increase electoral volatility by inducing vote swings not only from the government to the opposition but also from left-wing to right-wing parties. This is because right-wing parties better represent lower-income voters than left-wing parties and also seem more concerned with economic issues.

Keywords: electoral volatility, economic voting, Turkey, panel analysis

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