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The Informational Value of Incumbency

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Abstract

This paper proposes an argument that explains incumbency advantage with- out recurring to the collective irresponsibility of legislatures. For that purpose, we exploit the informational value of incumbency: incumbency confers voters informa- ion about governing politicians not available from challengers. Because there are many reasons for high reelection rates di?erent from incumbency status, we pro- pose a measure of incumbency advantage that improves the use of pure reelection uccess. We also study the relationship between incumbency advantage and ideo- ogical and selection biases. An important implication of our analysis is that the iterature linking incumbency and legislature irresponsibility most likely provides an overestimation of the latter.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 662.06.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 28 Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:662.06

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Keywords: Incumbency; information; candidate quality; selection bias; ideology.;

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  1. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  2. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
  3. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Enriqueta Aragones & Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2010. "The disadvantage of winning an election," ESE Discussion Papers 194, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  2. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2007. "Inefficient Policies and Incumbency Advantage," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 996, The University of Melbourne.
  3. Christopher Duquette & Franklin Mixon & Richard Cebula, 2013. "The Impact of Legislative Tenure and Seniority on General Election Success: Econometric Evidence from U.S. House Races," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 41(2), pages 161-172, June.

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