Pellegata, A. and M. Quaranta ‘Accountability through government alternation: Economic performance and the conditional role of political institutions in fifty countries, 1990-2015.’ International Political Science Review (2018)
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Government alternation is a fundamental aspect of representative democracies because it is the most efficient mechanism of accountability through which voters can steer the course of government. Previous research on alternation has focused either on its conceptualization and measurement or on its role as a determinant of political and economic outcomes. This article attempts to investigate the factors affecting government alternation. We test research hypotheses on the direct effect of the economy on alternation and the conditional role played by political-institutional settings using an original dataset covering 50 countries from 1990 to 2015 and including 304 elections. First, the article provides an overview of the patterns of alternation in the countries we analyse. Second, it shows that alternation is less likely in times of successful macroeconomic performance, and that the effect of macroeconomic conditions on alternation is only partially conditional on the political-institutional context.

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