The Informational Value of Incumbency
This paper proposes an argument that explains incumbency advantage with- out recurring to the collective irresponsibility of legislatures. For that purpose, we exploit the informational value of incumbency: incumbency confers voters informa- ion about governing politicians not available from challengers. Because there are many reasons for high reelection rates di?erent from incumbency status, we pro- pose a measure of incumbency advantage that improves the use of pure reelection uccess. We also study the relationship between incumbency advantage and ideo- ogical and selection biases. An important implication of our analysis is that the iterature linking incumbency and legislature irresponsibility most likely provides an overestimation of the latter.
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- 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
- 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.