Hard Times: Voters and the Economy in Times of Economic Hardship
How do voters react to an economic crisis? Who do they hold responsible for the economic crisis? Does an economic crisis affect voters’ view of government involvement in the economy? The research project proposes to study the formation of economic crisis policy, both theoretically and empirically, as well as the longer-term consequences of an economic crisis for voter preferences and beliefs regarding the merits of government intervention in the economy. This is done by following a large group of Danish voters over the course of the current recession in real time, collecting data as the economic crisis and recovery unfolds. The project combines comprehensive survey data collected from 6000 Danes in January 2010 with repeated surveys in 2011 and 2012 as well as register data from Statistics Denmark. This will make it possible to explore for the first time voters’ assessment of economic crisis policy during the actual crisis, with the aim of establishing a more general understanding of voter demand for crisis policy. At the same time, the project will investigate whether major economic crises have longer-run consequences, through their potential effect on how voters view government involvement in the economy. By following this large group of voters over the course of the crisis, it will be possible to see at the individual level if changes in economic status bring about changes in preferences in regards to redistribution as well as changes in beliefs in regards to government control of the economy.