Past is still present: Micro-level comparisons of conventional vs. transitional economic voting in three Polish elections

Andrew Owen, Joshua A. Tucker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Using survey data from three Polish parliamentary elections, we provide the first systematic micro-level test contrasting a standard incumbency-based model of economic voting with a transitional economic voting model in the post-communist context. To do so, we introduce a novel temporal component to micro-level studies of economic voting that supplements standard short-term retrospective economic evaluations (e.g., "do you feel the economy has improved in the past 12 months?") with longer "transitional" retrospective economic evaluations (e.g., "do you feel the economy has improved since the collapse of communism?"). Our analyses reveal a nuanced picture suggesting multiple paths for economic influences on voting in Poland. We find evidence consistent with the standard incumbency-based approach, but only for the specific set of evaluations to which the theory is most appropriately applied: short-term retrospective economic evaluations and the vote for incumbent parties. By contrast, the transitional model is strongly supported by evidence that evaluations of changes in economic conditions since the collapse of communism ("long-term economic evaluations") have an effect on the vote for a range of parties. We demonstrate as well that these results are robust to model specification and generational effects.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)25-39
    Number of pages15
    JournalElectoral Studies
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2010



    • Economic voting
    • Micro-level economic voting
    • Poland
    • Transitional economic voting

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations

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