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Keywords:

  • economic voting;
  • economic vulnerability;
  • occupational unemployment;
  • skills;
  • employability

Abstract

The economic voting literature shows that good economic performance bolsters the electoral prospects of incumbents. However, disagreement persists as to whether voters in vulnerable economic conditions are more likely to engage in economic voting. It is argued in this article that a crucial factor in explaining individual-level variation in economic voting is the degree of exposure to economic risks, because risk exposure affects the saliency of the economy in voting decisions. In particular, the focus is on job insecurity and employability as key determinants of economic voting patterns. The article hypothesises that the extent of economic voting is greater in voters who are more vulnerable to unemployment and less employable in case of job loss. Support for these hypotheses is found in a test with a dataset that combines survey data on incumbent support with occupational unemployment rates and other measures of exposure to economic risks.