By-elections, changing fortunes, uncertainty and the mid-term blues
If voters care about the size of the government's majority, then by-election votes should exaggerate national swings. Moreover, if there is uncertainty about the outcome of the general election and if voters” preferences are skewed in such a way as to give more weight to the “downside” outcome (least favourite party wins) than the “upside” (favoured party wins with a larger than preferred majority), then there will be a systematic tendency for governments to lose by-elections, regardless of any changes in national support. These predictions go beyond those generated by conventional explanations. The theory is successfully tested against data from 383 post-War elections. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998
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- Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
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- Paldam, Martin & Skott, Peter, 1995. "A Rational-Voter Explanation of the Cost of Ruling," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 83(1-2), pages 159-72, April.
- Nannestad, Peter & Paldam, Martin, 1994. "The VP-Function: A Survey of the Literature on Vote and Popularity Functions after 25 Years," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(3-4), pages 213-45, June.
- Paldam, Martin, 1986. "The distribution of election results and the two explanations of the cost of ruling," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 5-24.
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