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The Informational Value of Incumbency

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  • Carmen Bevia
  • Humberto Llavador

Abstract

This paper proposes an argument that explains incumbency advantage without recurring to the collective irresponsibility of legislatures. For that purpose, we exploit the informational value of incumbency: incumbency confers voters information about governing politicians not available from challengers. Because there are many reasons for high reelection rates different from incumbency status, we propose a measure of incumbency advantage that improves the use of pure reelection success. We also study the relationship between incumbency advantage and ideological and selection biases. An important implication of our analysis is that the literature linking incumbency and legislature irresponsibility most likely provides an overestimation of the latter.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 276.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:276

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

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References

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  1. 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, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
  2. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  3. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
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Cited by:
  1. 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, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 41(2), pages 161-172, June.
  2. Enriqueta Aragonès & Santiago Sánchez-Pagés, 2014. "Incumbency (dis)advantage when citizens can propose Abstract:This paper analyses the problem that an incumbent faces during the legislature when deciding how to react to citizen proposals such as the ," UB Economics Working Papers 2014/314, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.
  3. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2007. "Inefficient Policies and Incumbency Advantage," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series, The University of Melbourne 996, The University of Melbourne.
  4. Enriqueta Aragones & Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2010. "The disadvantage of winning an election," ESE Discussion Papers, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh 194, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  5. Aragonès, Enriqueta & Sánchez-Pagés, Santiago, 2010. "The disadvantage of winning an election," SIRE Discussion Papers, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) 2010-21, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).

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