Economic voting in the European Union: the impact of the EU economic integration index
Economic voting has long been a popular theory, explaining voting behavior; its application to multilevel governance structures however is not widely studied. This research takes the EU as an example of multi-layered governance structure with varying democratic practices, and applies macro-level economic voting models to a sample of 141 elections in the 28 EU member states for the 1990-2016 period. In order to assess the impact of the EU on the economic voting phenomenon, a synthetic index of European economic integration was created, based on an existing methodology. The application of regression analysis on key macroeconomic factors on the support for the incumbent prime-ministerial party found that the macro-level economic voting hypothesis holds true for a number of predictors, including the growth of gross domestic product, income inequality and the effective number of parties. In the same time, the interactions with the integration index did not lead, as hypothesized, to the complete disappearance of economic effects on the vote, so it could not be claimed with certainty that European integration disqualifies the economic considerations of voters in the EU member-states.