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Professor of Department of Political Science, Senior Research Fellow of Election Study Center, and Director of the Taiwan Institute for Governance and Communication Research (TIGCR), National Chengchi University
Testing Partisan Effects on Economic Perceptions: A Panel Design Approach (in English) Download
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The economic voting model has been established as a paradigm for studying electoral accountability based on past economic performances and future prospects. However, objective economic conditions may be a valence issue, and subjective evaluations of the national economy may still be positional. Recent “revisionist” commentators argue that economic voting is “endogenous” in the sense that partisanship strongly affects, if not distorts, voters’ perceptions of macroeconomic performance. Different responses have been elicited to this “partisan bias” claim, but few directly address the causal effect of partisanship on economic perceptions.
This study examined two competing theories of economic voting through investigating the partisan effects on sociotropic economic perceptions. By designing a narrow-window panel telephone survey conducted before and after the January 2016 presidential election in Taiwan, I constructed a two-way fixed effects (FE) model to test the existence of partisan bias. The estimates provided robust evidence of partisan effects on retrospective and prospective economic assessments. In other words, government party supporters evaluated both past and future economic performance favorably during the pre-election period but became pessimistic after their preferred party lost the election. By contrast, opposition party supporters discredited past economic performances during the government party’s rule and expressed optimistic expectations regarding future economic performances after their preferred party won the election. However, the theoretical and methodological conclusions reached in this study extend beyond the single case of Taiwan’s 2016 presidential election.