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Institutions, The Economy, and the Dynamics of State Elections

John E. Chubb
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 82, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 133-154
DOI: 10.2307/1958062
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1958062
Page Count: 22
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Institutions, The Economy, and the Dynamics of State Elections
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Abstract

As the U.S. states develop their political institutions and take greater responsibility for their economic well-being, two concerns that have long driven research on national elections--electoral insulation and economic accountability--should become central in research on state elections. I investigate institutionalization's effects on the vulnerability of state elections to major periodic forces--coattails, turnout, and economic conditions--and how political responsibility for economic growth is apportioned between presidents and governors in state elections. The investigation relies upon dynamic models of state legislative and gubernatorial outcomes estimated with a pooled data set comprised of most states and electionsin the years 1940-82. The results, which have important implications for state government more broadly, indicate that institutionalization has substantially insulated legislative elections against major threats and that state legislators and governors have less to fear from their state economies than is often thought, but also that state elections are becoming more susceptible to swings in the national economy.

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