How voters work around institutions: Policy balancing in staggered elections

Orit Kedar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This work provides a general framework for analysis of issue voting across democratic polities. Unlike current frameworks of analysis for issue voting, I argue that voters are concerned not only with party positions, but also with policy outcomes. This simple principle carries implications for voter choice under various institutional environments. In consensual parliamentary systems, taking into consideration the bargaining built into policy formation process in the parliament, voters often endorse parties whose positions differ from their own views. In presidential elections, incorporating the compromise between the president and the legislature into their decision making, voters adjust their vote, balancing the two institutions against one another. Finally, in federal systems, voters engage in vertical balancing, utilizing state elections to balance the federal government. I illustrate the latter implication analyzing election returns from Germany between 1965 and 2002.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)509-527
Number of pages19
JournalElectoral Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Compensational voting
  • Elections
  • Federal
  • Germany
  • Policy balancing
  • Staggered


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