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The design of political institutions: Electoral competition and the choice of ballot access restrictions in the United States

  • Marcus Drometer
  • Johannes Rincke

Recent contributions to the political economics literature (Trebbi et al. 2007; Aghion et al. 2004) have challenged the view that political institutions are exogenous to the behavior of agents in the political arena. We explicitly address the potential endogeneity of institu- tions by examining the link between the degree of political competition and the design of ballot access restrictions in the United States. Exploiting exogenous variation in electoral competition at the state level induced by the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, our main finding is that restrictions to the entry of non-major party candidates have been systemat- ically adjusted to changing degrees of electoral competition. As a consequence, differences in ballot access requirements between states are endogenous in the sense that they reflect differences in electoral competition.

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File URL: http://www.bgpe.de/texte/DP/057_drometer.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Paper provided by Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE) in its series Working Papers with number 057.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bav:wpaper:057_drometer
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.bgpe.de/

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  1. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson & Daniel Sturm, 2005. "Political Competition and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 11484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Democracies Pay Higher Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 707-738, August.
  3. Marcus Drometer & Johannes Rincke, 2009. "The impact of ballot access restrictions on electoral competition: evidence from a natural experiment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 461-474, March.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
  5. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 565-611, May.
  6. Husted, Thomas A & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1997. "The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 54-82, February.
  7. Stratmann, Thomas, 2005. "Ballot access restrictions and candidate entry in elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 59-71, March.
  8. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2005. "A Drawback Of Electoral Competition," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1318-1348, December.
  9. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
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