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Who Runs Against the Incumbent? Candidate Entry Decisions

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  • Luciana Moscoso Boedo

    () (Division of Economics, CIDE)

Abstract

This paper offers an explanation for the common observation that political incumbents not only frequently win reelection, but often face weak competition or no competition at all when running for reelection. I explain this outcome by modeling the entry decision of potential election candidates as a process of self-selection. Candidates choose either to enter a political race against a known-quality incumbent or to wait for an open election. The model predicts that the entry decision is non-monotonic in candidate quality: both low quality and very high quality candidates choose to enter the race. The tendency of mid-quality candidates to stay out increases the ex-ante probability that the incumbent will win, suggesting an explanation for incumbency advantage, the existence of uncontested races, and of ”sacrificial lambs”.

Suggested Citation

  • Luciana Moscoso Boedo, 2010. "Who Runs Against the Incumbent? Candidate Entry Decisions," Working papers DTE 494, CIDE, División de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:emc:wpaper:dte494
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    File URL: http://cide.edu/repec/economia/pdf/DTE494.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Limit Pricing and Entry under Incomplete Information: An Equilibrium Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 443-459, March.
    2. Stephen Morris, 2001. "Political Correctness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Incumbent; Candidate; Entry Decisions;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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