Theoretical Domain

What Is and What May Never Be: Economic Voting in Developing Democracies

Theoretical Domain

What Is and What May Never Be: Economic Voting in Developing Democracies

Abstract

Objective: We propose and test a theory that media freedom determines the extent of economic voting in developing democracies. Methods: Building on extant work that suggests economic voting takes place in developing democracies much like it does in established democracies (Lewis‐Beck and Stegmaier, 2008), we test our theory using a new collection of aggregate data from elections in 22 developing democracies in Africa. Results: Media freedom rather than political freedom may be a bigger determinant of economic voting in developing democracies. Moreover, the threshold of political development needed for economic voting is lower than previously suggested by the literature. Conclusion: Economic voting is alive and well in developing democracies—even those with relatively low levels of economic and political development.

Publication
In Social Science Quarterly