Voting Behavior in Indonesia from 1999 to 2014: Religious Cleavage or Economic Performance?

Discussion Papers


by Takayuki HIGASHIKATA and Koichi KAWAMURA

March 2015


In this study, we examine the voting behavior in Indonesian parliamentary elections from 1999 to 2014. After summarizing the changes in Indonesian parties’ share of the vote from a historical standpoint, we investigate the voting behavior with simple regression models to analyze the effect of regional characteristics on Islamic/secular parties’ vote share, using aggregated panel data at the district level. Then, we also test the hypothesis of retrospective economic voting. The results show that districts which formerly stood strongly behind Islamic parties continued to select those parties, or gave preference to abstention over the parties in some elections. From the point of view of retrospective economic voting, we found that districts which experienced higher per capita economic growth gave more support to the ruling parties, although our results remain tentative because information on 2014 is not yet available.

Keywords: election, political party, voting behavior, electoral volatility, effective number of parties, religious cleavage voting, retrospective economic voting, Indonesia
JEL classification:  D72

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