When Does the Circle Break? Good Governance vs. Support for the Incumbent
International Organizations and the World Bank promote good governance and well-performing institutions, but domestic politics seems dominated by a vicious circle where politicians have few electoral incentives to focus on institutional quality, while voters are ignorant and less interested in good governance. Building on previous literature on accountability, governance and contextual effects, this paper aims to examine whether incumbents are held accountable for governance performance. I test empirically the influence of aggregate level indicators of governance on support for the incumbent, and the role of public services in individual vote decision. With few exceptions, low corruption, efficient bureaucracy, well-performing judiciary system, or business regulations do not seem to reward the incumbents with extra votes. However, in some countries voters factor their satisfaction with public services in their vote decision and punish the incumbent for poor governance.