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Determinants of gubernatorial approval

Grant number: 19/08444-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 29, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - State and Government
Principal Investigator:George Avelino Filho
Grantee:Marcela Mello Zamudio
Host Institution: Escola de Economia de São Paulo (EESP). Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/15658-1 - Subnational political institutions: a comparative study of Brazilian States, AP.TEM


The central question of the economic voting theory is whether the economic context, including the gubernatorial policies adopted, influences the voters' decision at the polls (Mueller 1970, Hibbs 1977, 1982). The theory maintain that the agents who led to economic prosperity should be compensated at the polls, while those who are held responsible for the decline should be punished. To answer this question, the researches have focused on how economic behavior influences government approval rates (Clarke, et al., 2000, Gronke and Newman 2003) and reelection rates (Fair 1978). While initial models have placed emphasis on expectations about recent economic performance or personal economic experience, a number of studies have been concerned with a more "sophisticated" economic voter, which incorporates new information about the future through personal economic expectations (MacKuen, et al. 1992).Recently, Barberia, Avelino and Zanlorenssi (2018) have enriched the studies about the economic vote in the context of subnational governments of the Brazilian federation between 1994 and 2014, showing that the state economy influences the votes received by the parties that compete for reelection in the states, but that the effects are limited to the more industrialized states. This scientific initiation project aims to contribute to the continuance of the construction of the database and studies on the elections and the popularity of the governors of the Brazilian states. The construction of the databases will be based on two sources. Electoral data from gubernatorial elections held in 2018 published by the Superior Electoral Court will be the source used to update the state governors' electoral bank. Publications of the public opinion data of the main research institutes (Ibope, Datafolha, Vox Populi, Sensus) on the approval of the president and the governor will be the source used to update the gubernatorial approval bank. The justification for the realization of this project is that the literature on economic voting in Brazil has focused mainly on the elections for the national executive and in specific cases, analyzing only one election or, even when analyzing more than one case, the focus is only on the election results or the declared vote intention. Trying to fill this gap in researches, this project will seek to contribute to the construction of two databases on the elections and approval of the state governors. These banks are already under construction. With the upgrade of the banks, we expect to increase the sample size, especially since the governor's approval data has been published only for 10 of the 26 states of the federation (Barberia, et al., 2016). With the new data to be collected, we hope to answer the following two questions: Why do gubernatorial approval rates fluctuate, both in the short and long term? What systematic forces can cause state governors' popularity or unpopularity over time?

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