Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2019: 30 Jahre Mauerfall - Demokratie und Marktwirtschaft - Session: Political Economy I No. B12-V3
Retrospective voting may be an effective instrument for overcoming moral hazard of politicians if voters evaluate the performance of elected representatives correctly. Whether democratic experience helps them to properly assess a policymaker's performance is less well understood. We analyze whether voters are more likely to vote for an incumbent party which launched a disaster relief program and whether voters' behavior is related to their democratic experience. Our identification rests on two natural experiments: a disastrous flood in Germany in 2013, and the separation of Germany into a democratic West and a non-democratic East after World War II. We find a two percentage points increase for the incumbent party in the flooded municipalities in the East compared to the West in the 2013 elections. Testing for several potential explanations, we deem it to be likely that voters with less democratic experience are easier prey to pre-election policies of incumbent parties.
retrospective voting natural disaster democratic experience relief program