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The disadvantage of winning an election

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the problem that an incumbent faces during the legislature when deciding how to react to popular initiatives or policy proposals coming from different sources. We argue that this potential source of electoral disadvantage that the incumbent obtains after being elected can jeopardize the re-election possibilities of the incumbent. We analyze the decision of the incumbent when facing re-election and we characterize the conditions under which the advantages that the incumbent obtains can overcome the disadvantages. Finally, we use the results of this analysis to discuss some implications of the use of mechanisms of direct democracy like referenda and popular assemblies on electoral competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Enriqueta Aragones & Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2010. "The disadvantage of winning an election," ESE Discussion Papers 194, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:194
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hanna Ågren & Matz Dahlberg & Eva Mörk, 2007. "Do politicians’ preferences correspond to those of the voters? An investigation of political representation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 137-162, January.
    2. Dimitrios Xefteris, 2011. "Referenda as a Catch-22," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 37(1), pages 121-138, June.
    3. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-938, October.
    4. Aragonès, Enriqueta & Sánchez-Pagés, Santiago, 2009. "A theory of participatory democracy based on the real case of Porto Alegre," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 56-72, January.
    5. Helios Herrera & Andrea Mattozzi, 2010. "Quorum and Turnout in Referenda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 838-871, June.
    6. Gautam Gowrisankaran & Matthew F. Mitchell & Andrea Moro, 2004. "Why Do Incumbent Senators Win? Evidence from a Dynamic Selection Model," NBER Working Papers 10748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Carmen Beviá & Humberto Llavador, 2009. "The Informational Value of Incumbency," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 11(5), pages 773-796, October.
    8. 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..
    9. Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Direct Democracy: Politico-economic Lessons from Swiss Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 338-342, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aragonés, Enriqueta & Castanheira, Micael & Giani, Marco, 2012. "Electoral Competition through Issue Selection," CEPR Discussion Papers 9012, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incumbency advantage; referenda; popular initiatives; elections;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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