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Non-Economic Voting and Incumbent Strength in Turkey

Discussion Papers


March 2012


Evidence suggests that incumbent parties find it harder to be re-elected in emerging than in advanced democracies because of more serious economic problems in the former. Yet the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) has ruled Turkey since 2002. Does economic performance sufficiently account for the electoral strength of the AKP government? Reliance on economic performance alone to gain public support makes a government vulnerable to economic fluctuations. This study includes time-series regressions for the period 1950-2011 in Turkey and demonstrates that even among Turkey’s long-lasting governments, the AKP has particular electoral strength that cannot be adequately explained by economic performance.

Keywords: economic voting, Turkey
JEL classification: D72

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