The Impact of Employment Status on Voting Behavior


Robert Grafstein ( is professor of political science, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-1615.


This paper examines the impact of employment status on voting by formally modeling the effect of partisan government on workers’ economic interests. These interests are determined by model workers’ labor supply decisions, which are conditioned on their expected wage, unemployment benefits, and the probability of receiving a job offer or being laid off. Both probabilities are influenced by the party in power. The solution to the model implies that, relative to the employed, the higher the education level, the income, and the unemployment benefits of the unemployed the less likely they are to vote for the party associated with higher growth. The unemployment rate has the same impact. These hypotheses are successfully tested on NES 1972–2000 U.S. presidential elections data.