Retrospective and Prospective Voting in Greece. By George Tsebelis.

The original article by George Tsebelis in Greek “Ψήφος τιμωρίας, επιβράβευσης και προοπτικής” was published on May 13, 2012 at

The article distinguishes between prospective and retrospective voting. In the first, the voter selects the party that is closer to him and can solve the problems that society is likely to face; it presupposes knowledge of all party positions, and assessment of likelihood that particular problems will emerge. In the second, the only assessment necessary is whether the situation is better under the incumbent government, and if the answer is affirmative the vote is for the incumbent, if negative the vote goes to the challenger.

While retrospective voting requires significantly less information in two party systems (and American presidential elections have demonstrated that it provides an accurate basis for electoral predictions), it cannot be applied in multiparty systems, because even if a negative assessment on the incumbent is accurate, the voter does not know where to give his vote.

The article ends by pointing out the impasse from the latest Greek elections, asking people to reconsider in the next elections their retrospective voting, and replace it by prospective voting.


About Natasa Alajbegovic

Manager, Global Projects/International Institute, University of Michigan.
This entry was posted in economy, European Union, faculty research, politics, uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.