Make It Rain? Retrospection and the Attentive Electorate in the Context of Natural Disasters

  title={Make It Rain? Retrospection and the Attentive Electorate in the Context of Natural Disasters},
  author={John T. Gasper and Andrew Reeves},
  journal={American Journal of Political Science},
Are election outcomes driven by events beyond the control of politicians? Democratic accountability requires that voters make reasonable evaluations of incumbents. Although natural disasters are beyond human control, the response to these eventsistheresponsibilityofelectedofficials.Inacounty-levelanalysisofgubernatorialandpresidentialelectionsfrom1970 to2006,weexaminetheeffectsofweathereventsandgovernmentalresponses.Wefindthatelectoratespunishpresidentsand governors for severe weather damage… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Disasters and Elections: Estimating the Net Effect of Damage and Relief in Historical Perspective
Do natural disasters help or hurt politicians’ electoral fortunes? Research on this question has produced conflicting results. Achen and Bartels (2002, 2016) find that voters punish incumbent
Election or Disaster Support?
  • J. Klomp
  • Political Science
    The Journal of Development Studies
  • 2019
Abstract In this study, I explore whether the public spending provided in response to a natural disaster is affected by upcoming elections. The theory on retrospective voting argues that politicians
Hurricanes , Climate Change and Political Accountability ∗
This paper studies whether, how and why elected politicians and voters respond to new information on the threats of climate change. Using data on the universe of federal disaster declarations between
Natural Disasters, ‘Partisan Retrospection,’ and U.S. Presidential Elections
Research investigating whether natural disasters help or hurt politicians’ electoral fortunes has produced conflicting results. Some find that voters punish elected officials indiscriminately in the
(Un)Natural Disasters: Electoral Cycles in Disaster Relief
Emergency spending is often exempt from campaign period restrictions and procurement guidelines, making it attractive for opportunistic politicians, but natural disasters are seen as outside
Weathering the Storm: Conditional Effects of Natural Disasters on Retrospective Voting in Gubernatorial Elections—A Replication and Extension
Previous research shows that uncontrollable events like natural disasters hinder incumbent leaders’ chances at re-election, but also suggests that competent responses to such crises can benefit
The Political Dynamics of Voter Retrospection and Disaster Responses.
The paper uncovers a great disparity of electoral outcomes in the wake of disasters, and demonstrates the analytical relevance of such political discourses by contrasting the political dynamics in Denmark and Sweden in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami.
Natural Disasters that Cause No Damage: Retrospective Voting and a Reanalysis of ‘Make it Rain’
A large empirical literature examines how voters react to different types of information when considering an incumbent politician or political party. A number of recent studies use weather damage and
Extreme weather and the politics of climate change: A study of campaign finance and elections


Who Is Held Responsible When Disaster Strikes? the Attribution of Responsibility for a Natural Disaster in an Urban Election
ABSTRACT: When do voters hold politicians accountable for events outside their control? In this article, we take advantage of a rare situation in which a prominent election in a large city followed a
Blind Retrospection. Electoral Responses to Drought, Flu, and Shark Attacks
Students of democratic politics have long believed that voters punish incumbents for hard times. Governments bear the responsibility for the economy in the modern era, so that replacing incompetent
Sociotropic Politics: The American Case
American elections depend substantially on the vitality of the national economy. Prosperity benefits candidates for the House of Representatives from the incumbent party (defined as the party that
Myopic Voters and Natural Disaster Policy
Do voters effectively hold elected officials accountable for policy decisions? Using data on natural disasters, government spending, and election returns, we show that voters reward the incumbent
Natural Disasters as a Political Variable: The Effect of a Hurricane on an Urban Election
Political scientists usually assume that physical environment helps determine political behavior. They would not, for example, expect a homogeneous political culture in a country sharply divided by
Political Control of the Economy.
Speculations about the effects of politics on economic life have a long and vital tradition, but few efforts have been made to determine the precise relationship between them. Edward Tufte, a
Attributing Blame: The Public's Response to Hurricane Katrina
When government fails, whom do citizens blame? Do these assessments rely on biased or content-rich information? Despite the vast literatures on retrospective voting in political science and
The Fragility of the Moment: Politics and Class in the Aftermath of the 1944 Argentine Earthquake
  • M. Healey
  • Political Science
    International Labor and Working-Class History
  • 2002
In less than a minute on a summer evening in 1944, an earthquake reduced the city of San Juan to rubble, leaving ten thousand dead and half the province homeless. The worst natural disaster in
Institutions, the Economy, and the Dynamics of State Elections
  • John E. Chubb
  • Economics, Political Science
    American Political Science Review
  • 1988
As the U.S. states develop their political institutions and take greater responsibility for their economic well-being, two concerns that have long driven research on national elections—electoral
Economic Geography and Economic Voting: Evidence from the US States
If voters use information about the economy to assess the competence of incumbents, a connection between economic conditions and incumbent success should only be discernible in settings where public