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Incumbency Effects in Brazilian Mayoral Elections: A Regression Discontinuity Design


  • Leandro De Magalhães



I use a regression discontinuity design to study incumbency effects in Brazilian mayoral elections. For mayors elected in 1996 I find no evidence of an incumbency effect on the probability of being elected in 2000. For the 2000-2004 electoral cycle I also find no effect except for races where the mayor elected in 2000 belonged to the a party in the center-right coalition and the runner-up belonged to a party in the center-left coalition. In these races I find an incumbency disadvantage. For mayors elected in 2004 I find a strong incumbency advantage in the 2008 election across all races. I also show some novel incumbency effects. Winning a mayoral election does not have a positive effect on the future prospects of a politician’s career at the state, national or local level. Losing a mayoral election increases the probability of a politician switching parties.

Suggested Citation

  • Leandro De Magalhães, 2012. "Incumbency Effects in Brazilian Mayoral Elections: A Regression Discontinuity Design," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/284, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:12/284

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2009. "Do Political Parties Matter? Evidence from U.S. Cities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 399-422.
    2. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. Fernanda Brollo & Tommaso Nannicini & Roberto Perotti & Guido Tabellini, 2013. "The Political Resource Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1759-1796, August.
    4. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    5. Sakurai, Sergio N. & Menezes, Naercio A., 2008. "Fiscal policy and reelection in Brazilian municipalities," Insper Working Papers wpe_117, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    6. Brollo, Fernanda & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2012. "Tying Your Enemy's Hands in Close Races: The Politics of Federal Transfers in Brazil," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 106(04), pages 742-761, November.
    7. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745.
    8. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2011. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1274-1311, June.
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    10. Sergio Sakurai & Naercio Menezes-Filho, 2008. "Fiscal policy and reelection in Brazilian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 301-314, October.
    11. Yogesh Uppal, 2009. "The disadvantaged incumbents: estimating incumbency effects in Indian state legislatures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(1), pages 9-27, January.
    12. Cox, Gary W. & Katz, Jonathan N., 1995. "Why Did The Incumbency Advantage In U.S. House Elections Grow?," Working Papers 939, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    13. repec:cup:apsrev:v:101:y:2007:i:02:p:303-320_07 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. 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.
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    More about this item


    Incumbency Advantage; Political Careers; Regression Discontinuity Design; Mayors; Brazil.;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General


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