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Stian Skaar Ludvigsen

Post-mortem of the VP-function? Meta-regression analyses of economic voting in the United Kingdom – an anthology

Over forty years, vote and popularity (VP) functions have been applied to investigate whether governments are held accountable for macroeconomic outcomes. There has been a long-held concern with unstable and conflicting results from this literature, and other ways to estimate the effects of economic voting have become increasingly popular.

Reviews on economic voting in the United Kingdom were conducted in the dissertation summarized in this book, with the motivation to investigate whether the VP-function still has a purpose. The review technique is meta-regression analysis, which until now has been little used in political science. This quantitative technique controls for specification differences and is far superior to simply counting results from the literature and calculating their average.

With this regression of regression coefficients, inconclusive results regarding the effects of unemployment, inflation, and personal economic expectations are reconciled, showing that the pursuit of the British VP-function is still worthwhile. However, the findings may be a bit challenging for theorists, as Labour has been punished much harder for inflation than the Conservatives, while the punishment for rising unemployment has been quite balanced.

Udgivet februar 2010

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