Comparative analyses of economic voting in Europe and in the American states suggest that institutional context structures the assignment of political responsibility for policy outcomes. Since most of it has proceeded at the aggregate level, however, the extant literature is ill equipped to comment critically on the ability of individuals to incorporate information about institutional context into their responsibility judgments and on whether the effects of such contextual factors outweigh those of individual-level characteristics. This article analyzes attributions of executive versus legislative responsibility for fiscal policy outcomes in the American states and represents the first attempt to integrate both institutional context and responsibility attributions into a single analysis. Exploiting recent advances in multilevel modeling techniques, this article analyzes the extent to which individuals’ responsibility judgments are shaped by institutional and individual-level factors and how, in turn, these responsibility judgments influence political evaluations.
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