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When the pound in people’s pocket matters: how changes to personal financial circumstances affect party choice

Tilley, James; Neundorf, Anja; Hobolt, Sara

Authors

James Tilley

Anja Neundorf

Sara Hobolt



Abstract

In this paper we revisit the often disregarded ‘pocketbook voting’ thesis that suggests that people evaluate governments based on the state of their own finances. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey over the last 20 years, we measure changes in personal financial circumstances and show that the ‘pocketbook voting’ model works. Crucially, we also argue that the ability to attribute responsibility for these changes to the government matters. People respond much more strongly to changes in their own finances that are linked to government spending, such as welfare transfers, than to similar changes that are less clearly the responsibility of elected officials, such as lower personal earnings. We conclude that pocketbook voting is a real phenomenon, but that more attention should be paid to how people assign credit and blame for changes in their own economic circumstances.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Journal of Politics
Print ISSN 0022-3816
Electronic ISSN 0022-3816
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 80
Issue 2
APA6 Citation Tilley, J., Neundorf, A., & Hobolt, S. (in press). When the pound in people’s pocket matters: how changes to personal financial circumstances affect party choice. Journal of Politics, 80(2), https://doi.org/10.1086/694549
DOI https://doi.org/10.1086/694549
Keywords Economic voting, pocketbook, party choice, responsibility, vote choice
Publisher URL http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/694549
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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