Economic Perception to Political Performance Evaluation: Establishing Precursors to Economic Voting in Africa
Empirical support for economic voting is well documented in advanced democracies. We know less, however, about the extent and dynamics of economic voting in the developing democracies of sub-Saharan Africa. The relationship between economic perceptions and incumbent performance evaluations is a critical precursor to vote choice. I evaluate this link using more than fifty-five thousand individual-level observations across sixteen sub-Saharan African countries. I find that there exists a strong association between economic perception and performance evaluation while controlling for a host of covariates, including ethnicity, partisanship, information, and public goods provision. Contrary to previous findings, however, I show that the influence of economic perception is stronger than many other factors considered in the models such as coethnicity with the incumbent. Moreover, my findings indicate that coethnicity-but not copartisanship-conditions the influence of economic perception on performance evaluation. I use an instrumental variables approach to further validate the findings.
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