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A Political Agency Model of Coattail Voting

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  • Zudenkova, Galina

Abstract

This paper provides a theoretical model for the coattail effect, where a popular candidate for one branch of government attracts votes to candidates from the same political party for other branches of government. I assume a political agency framework with moral hazard in order to analyze the coattail effect in simultaneous presidential and congressional elections. I show that coattail voting is the outcome of the optimal reelection scheme adopted by a representative voter to motivate politicians' efforts in a retrospective voting environment. I assume that an office-motivated politician (executive or member of congress) prefers her counterpart to be affiliated with the same political party. This correlation of incentives leads the voter to adopt a joint performance evaluation rule, which is conditioned on the politicians belonging to the same party or to different parties. Two-sided coattail effects then arise. On the one hand, an executive's success props up, while failure drags down, her partisan ally in the congressional election, which implies a presidential coattail effect. On the other hand, the executive's reelection itself is affected by a congress member's performance, which results in a reverse coattail effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 28800.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28800

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Keywords: Coattail voting; Presidential coattail effect; Reverse coattail effect; Simultaneous elections; Political Agency; Retrospective voting.;

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Cited by:
  1. Zudenkova, Galina, 2011. "A Model of Party Discipline in a Congress," Working Papers 2072/151813, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
  2. 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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