Dual Governance and Economic Voting: France and the United States

  • Michael S. Lewis-Beck
  • Richard Nadeau
Part of the French Politics, Society and Culture Series book series (FPSC)


Economic voting has become a major paradigm for understanding electoral processes, especially in advanced industrial democracies. Voters in these nations routinely punish governments for economic downturn, or reward them for economic boom. Two such democracies have received special attention — France and the United States. As Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier (2000: 205) observe, in their exhaustive review of the economic voting literature, these two countries are “the most commonly studied.” For both nations, there are numerous investigations of individual opinion surveys or aggregate time series demonstrating that economic variables matter for presidential and legislative election outcomes. But, missing from most of these investigations are institutional features and their influence on the economic vote. For example, the “economy coefficient,” from whatever measure, usually offers itself as a direct general effect, unconditioned by different political rules. Our special concern here is how the institution of what we broadly label dual governance (i.e. cohabitation in France, divided government in the US), conditions the economic vote.


Prime Minister Presidential Election Vote Share Annual Percent Change Percentage Point Increase 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Lewis-Beck
  • Richard Nadeau

There are no affiliations available

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