The voter as juror: Attributing responsibility for economic conditions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


One assumption of Key's "reward-punishment" theory that has attracted comparatively little attention is that voters hold the incumbent party responsible for all manner of economic fluctuations. A brief review of the survey literature in economic voting indicates that this assumption is in need of revision. The handful of existing studies in political science on responsibility attribution suffers from a lack of conceptual clarity and a failure to develop a theory of the attribution process. This paper outlines a model of economic voting in which people act as intuitive jurors using various decision rules to evaluate the evidence surrounding the president's responsibility for national economic problems. The generalizability of the framework and directions for future research are discussed

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-294
Number of pages20
JournalPolitical Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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