Essays on Voter Behavior and Government Performance : Econometric Comparative Analysis in America, Europe and Africa

To reduce poverty and undernutrition, as well as promote economic growth, is necessary the development and implementation of efficient policies. In political theory, elections are considered a fundamental democratic mechanism to guarantee high government performance, since they should reflect the interests of the whole society and serve to control the government. However, in reality, electoral competition often leads to the implementation of distorted policies and low governmental performance. It is widely accepted that democracy, when compared to other political systems, is more efficient promoting economic growth and well-being. The question then arises as to how can be explained the difference in economic development between countries that are democracies with multi-party systems. In this dissertation we study the factors that influence voting behavior in Honduras, as well as in other developing and developed countries. In addition, we analyze the impact of the electoral decision to either vote or abstain on government performance. For the analysis of voting behavior, we consider the three voting motives: policy, retrospective and non-policy. Also, since democratically elected politicians seek to maximize their vote share, the understanding of inefficient and biased policy implementation has to be based on voting behavior analysis and, nowadays, the probabilistic voter model is the workhorse model applied in voter studies. More specifically, we apply two different approaches: the Latent Class Model to allow for heterogeneity, and the Nested Multinomial Logit Model. With the results of these estimations, we calculated marginal and relative marginal effects to measure the relative importance of the three voting motives. Finally, with the relative marginal effects we derive indices to measure government performance and to empirically analyze how voting behavior incentives de government to develop efficient policies adapted to the needs of the country.


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