A basic question in the analysis of the economic voting of the individual is whether the decision to vote for the government is sociotropic or determined by the pocketbook? It is sociotropic if the voter considers the whole of the economy. It is pocketbook voting if people look at their personal economic circumstances. The question has remained at the centre of research in economic voting since it was first raised by Kinder and Kiewiet in 1979. Over the years, it has generated a sizeable number of empirical studies, mostly based on American data, as well as a fair share of disagreement. From a theoretical viewpoint it is not obvious whether economic man is a sociotropic or a pocketbook voter. There is a strong argument for both assumptions: (α) the pro-pocketbook argument suggests that homo economicus pursues his own interest or that of his household, and votes with his pocketbook; (β) the proto-sociotropic argument suggests that voters consider what governments try to accomplish. They do not try to steer the economy of any individual, but the economy of the country.The word sociotropic literally means society-directed. The corresponding concept for self-directed would be egotropic, as we write in other papers. The Editor has resolved that this is not in the dictionary. Moreover, several writers prefer the term egocentric. This is too loaded with other meanings for our taste. So we shall use the term pocketbook voting in the present Note.Donald R. Kinder and D. Roderick Kiewiet, ‘Economic Discontent and Political Behavior: The Role of Personal Grievances and Collective Economic Judgements in Congressional Voting’, American Journal of Political Science, 23 (1979), 495–527, and ‘Sociotropic Politics’, British Journal of Political Science, 11 (1981), 129–61. See further the cross-national study by Michael S. Lewis-Beck, Economics and Elections (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1988, 1990), and the surveys by Peter Nannestad and Martin Paldam, ‘The VP-Function. A Survey of the Literature on Vote and Popularity Functions after 25 Years’, Public Choice, 79 (1994), 213–45; and Douglas A. Hibbs, Solidarity or Egoism? (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 1993). These recent surveys allow us to restrict these references to a minimum.