Weber, Till (2009) Exit, Voice, and Cyclicality: A Micro-Logic of Voting Behaviour in European Parliament Elections. In: UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)
Unlike other classics of political economy, “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty” (EVL) has not sparked many innovations in the field of electoral studies. This paper aims to demonstrate that scholars miss out on a powerful theory of political behaviour by leaving Hirschman’s ideas to other disciplines. To change this, I resolve several theoretical complications that have hampered the application of EVL to democratic elections. On this basis, I construct a model of voting behaviour through the electoral cycle to explain typical “second-order” effects in elections to the European Parliament (EP). Building on the parameters of EVL allows to unite such diverse phenomena as anti-government swings, declining turnout, protest voting, conversion and alienation in one theoretical framework. Testing the model with survey data from the European Election Studies of 1999 and 2004 reveals novel insights into the dynamics at work in EP elections. The role of strategic voting in the form of voice appears to be limited. Instead, processes of de- and realignment in the form of exit dominate a picture of EP elections that undermines the widespread conception of second-order irrelevance.
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