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The Informational Value of Incumbency

Author

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  • Carmen Bevia
  • Humberto Llavador

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Carmen Bevia & Humberto Llavador, 2006. "The Informational Value of Incumbency," Working Papers 276, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:276
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
    2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    3. Larry Samuelson, 1984. "Electoral equilibria with restricted strategies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 307-327, January.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:86:y:1992:i:04:p:951-965_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Richard D. Mckelvey & Raymond Riezman, 2013. "Seniority in Legislature," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Trade Agreements and Political Economy, chapter 12, pages 185-199 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    6. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
    7. 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. Enriqueta Aragonès & Santiago Sánchez-Pagés, 2014. "Incumbency (dis)advantage when citizens can propose Abstract:This paper analyses the problem that an incumbent faces during the legislature when deciding how to react to citizen proposals such as the ," UB Economics Working Papers 2014/314, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.
    2. Enriqueta Aragonès & Santiago Sánchez-Páges, 2010. "The Disadvantage of Winning an Election," Working Papers 439, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. 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, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 41(2), pages 161-172, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incumbency; information; candidate quality; selection bias; ideology;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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