Punishing voters, accountability, and congruence
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When voters ‘punish’ the incumbents, does it affect the ideological congruence between incumbent parties and their voters? This study is an examination of an underlying tension between democratic values of representation and accountability that elections are normatively expected to serve in a democracy. I examine this tension through the concept of ‘punishing voters’. Punishing voters are conceptualized as the subset of the electorate who have previously voted for the incumbents, and switch their votes later based on economic evaluations. Using the data for 35 countries between 2011–2016 from the fourth round of Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, I examine the hypothesis that ideological congruence between incumbent parties and their voters increases with rise in economic voting. This study is socially important as it implies that voters are forced to choose between retrospective evaluations and ideological congruence. The consequences of this argument are important for understanding the crises of democracies in the context of competing normative values that elections serve.
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