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The informational value of incumbency

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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 Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 962.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:962

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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

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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, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
  2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  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. Hodler, Roland & Loertscher, Simon & Rohner, Dominic, 2010. "Inefficient policies and incumbency advantage," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 761-767, October.
  2. Enriqueta Aragones & Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2010. "The disadvantage of winning an election," ESE Discussion Papers 194, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  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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