Asymmetric federalism and economic voting Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2016

start page

  • 847

end page

  • 865


  • 4


  • 55

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0304-4130

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1475-6765


  • Although federal arrangements adopt a multiplicity of forms across and within federations, this article suggests that some models of power division are better than others at enhancing clarity of responsibility and electoral accountability. This conclusion is the result of exploring responsibility attribution and economic voting in a state where decentralisation arrangements vary across regions: the Spanish State of Autonomies. Using electoral surveys and aggregated economic data for the 1982-2012 period, the empirical analysis shows that regional economic voting is most pronounced in regions where decentralisation design concentrated authority and resources at one level of government, whereas it is inexistent in regions where devolution followed a more intertwined model of power distribution. The implication of the empirical findings is that the specific design of intergovernmental arrangements is crucial to make electoral accountability work in federations.


  • Sociology


  • accountability; elections; federalism; clarity of responsibility; responsibility attribution