Center for the Study of Democracy
Economic Voting in Post-Communist Eastern Europe
- Author(s): Harper, Marcus
- et al.
Adopting theories of economic voting developed in Western democracies, the present study tests the hypothesis that the replacement of incumbent pro-market/pro-democracy governments with ex-communist parties in post-communist East European elections was a function of the economic calculus of frustrated citizens at the ballot box. Using data from the Central and Eastern EuroBarometer (CEEB) studies, this investigation adopts an individual-level approach to examine the degree to which economic assessments and unemployment influenced both pro-reform incumbent and ex-communist party voting intentions in Lithuania (1992), Hungary (1994), and Bulgaria (1994). The dominant impression which emerges from the logistic regression estimations predicting voting intentions is that, despite strong expectations to the contrary, economic factors had at best a modest effect on party choice in these nations. These findings corroborate recent country-specific studies of electoral behavior in Eastern Europe which observe that the return to parliamentary power of ex-communist parties in these societies was not simply a function of economic voting.