Elections and wealth: a complex relationship



Economic voting is a key factor affecting the behaviour of voters, whose voice is strongly influenced by the state of the economy at the moment of going to the polls. This type of reaction is common, but the ways in which it is expressed are multiple and complex. 

L'Équipe de recherche sur l'économie et les élections (Research Team on Elections and the Economy), directed by Richard Nadeau from Université de Montréal, is more specifically interested in the connection between the material situation of individuals and their political behaviour, an aspect of economic voting that is too often disregarded. Focusing on France, the United States and Great Britain, the researchers worked to show that the use of a more appropriate measurement of individual wealth, such as the possession of financial assets, will reveal any significant influence of material situation on political choice. It is important to take this "capital effect" into account in order to better understand the behaviour of today's citizens who are evolving in the context of a modern economy. 

This work has shown that a reasonable evaluation of the economic vote should take into account not only income level, but income structure. The possession of financial assets like shares, for example, reflects both the individuals' tendency to take risks and their preferences when it comes to the role of government, especially in matters of economic regulation and social protection. As a result, a significant link was observed between the structure of the economic capital of individuals and their political behaviour. 

This research has been the subject of numerous published and upcoming articles, including articles in Electoral Studies, West European Politics and Revue française de science politique. The researchers have also presented their findings at Université Paris II in 2009, at numerous seminars in Europe and the United States, and at several prestigious conferences including that of the American Political Science Association in 2008 and 2009.

Team

Équipe de recherche sur l'économie et les élections

Director

Richard Nadeau, Université de Montréal

Regular members

  • Éric Bélanger, Université McGill
  • François Gélineau, Université Laval
  • Pierre Martin, Université de Montréal