Gasoline in the Voter’s Pocketbook: Driving Times to Work and the Electoral Implications of Gasoline Price Fluctuations

Sung Eun Kim, Joonseok Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Gasoline prices are often a heated topic during presidential election campaigns in the United States. Yet, presidents have limited control over gasoline prices. Do voters reward or punish the president for changes in gasoline prices? Why might voters blame the president for an outcome beyond direct presidential control? This study addresses these questions by testing the effects of gasoline prices on pocketbook retrospection by voters. To capture the personal economic burden of gasoline prices, we rely on average driving times to work, given the inelastic nature of gasoline consumption for commuting. The results provide evidence for pocketbook voting: constituencies with longer average driving times to work are more likely to hold the president accountable for gasoline price increases. These findings have broader implications regarding electoral accountability and rationality in voting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Politics Research
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • economic voting
  • electoral accountability
  • gasoline price
  • pocketbook voting
  • presidential Election
  • rationality of voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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