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Last Minute Policies and the Incumbency Advantage

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  • Elena Manzoni
  • Stefan P. Penczynski

Abstract

This paper models a purely informational mechanism behind the incumbency advantage. In a two‐period electoral campaign with two policy issues, an incumbent and a possibly more competent challenger compete for election by voters who are heterogeneously informed about the state of the world. Due to the asymmetries in government responsibility between candidates, the incumbent's statement may convey information on the relevance of the issues to voters. In equilibrium, the incumbent sometimes strategically releases his statement early and thus signals the importance of his signature issue to the voters. We find that, since the incumbent's positioning on the issue reveals private information which the challenger can use in later statements, the incumbent's incentives to distort the campaign are decreasing in his quality, as previously documented by the empirical literature. The distortions arising in equilibrium are decreasing in the incumbent's true competence; however, the distortions may be increasing in the incumbent's expected competence on his signature issue.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena Manzoni & Stefan P. Penczynski, 2018. "Last Minute Policies and the Incumbency Advantage," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 19(3), pages 280-308, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:19:y:2018:i:3:p:280-308
    DOI: 10.1111/geer.12130
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mamadou Boukari & Etienne Farvaque & Daniel Cakpo-Tozo, 2019. "“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!†Popularity Gains as an Incentive to Legislate Frantically?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(2), pages 1488-1507.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General

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