Clarity of responsibility, accountability and economic voting. The Spanish case.

GT 4.3 Elecciones autonómicas en contextos de cambio: condicionantes del voto y análisis electorales

Sandra León Alfonso
Lluis Orriols Galve (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
Sesión 2
Día: viernes,20 de septiembre de 2013
Hora: 11:45 a 14:15
Lugar: E11SEM03

Does decentralization moderate the impact of economic performance on the electoral fate of subnational incumbents? This paper attempts to answer this question by exploring the role of economic voting in decentralized systems. The theoretical claim of this paper is that decentralization (defined by the balance of powers between national powers and subnational units) will determine the way economic voting operates at the national and subnational level. In systems of multilevel governance where powers and authority are highly concentrated at the regional level of government, clarity of responsibilities will be enhanced, leaving less room for confusion about responsibility attribution for economic outcomes. In this context we expect strong regional economic voting. Conversely, if decentralization follows a cooperative model and decisions over expenditures and revenues are highly intertwined, clarity of responsibilities will be hampered and the conditions to make accountability an effective control mechanism will be undermined. In this context, we expect a weaker relationship between economic outcomes and support for the regional incumbent. These hypotheses will be tested in the Spanish case using individual data. Spain is an excellent case study because the existence of cross-regional asymmetries in the timing and design of decentralization provides variation in the most important variable of the theoretical model (decentralization). In addition, the ongoing downward transfer of powers provides variation on decentralization levels over time.  

Palabras clave: Decentralization, economic voting, Spain, elections