All the Prime Minister's Glory? Leader Effects and Accountability of Prime Ministers in Parliamentary Elections


Are prime ministers held accountable for their government’s performance? The personalisation of parliamentary elections and subsequent voting behaviour based on the personality of party leaders questions the accountability of elected governments. In this article, I analyse the confounding of prime ministers leader effects by voters’ evaluation of government performance to examine whether prime ministers are held accountable for the performance of their government. I use individual-level data from British, Danish and German elections and a natural experiment at the German state level to show that voters hold prime ministers personally accountable. The findings constitute an important extension of electoral accountability and have implications for the study of personalisation and presidentialisation in parliamentary democracies.

Politics, 40 (4): 444-459