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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 outcome of referenda or popular initiatives. We argue that these proposals constitute a potential source of electoral disadvantage when citizens factor in their evaluation of the incumbent his reaction to these proposals. This is because an incumbent politician may jeopardize his re-election by implementing policies close to his preferred ones but unpopular among the electorate. We characterize conditions under which this potential disadvantage becomes in fact an electoral advantage for the incumbent. We fi nd that the choices of the incumbent during the legislature will be closest to citizens policy proposals when the intensity of electoral competition is neither too soft nor too tough. Finally, we use our results to discuss some implications of the use of mechanisms such as referenda and popular assemblies on electoral competition and on the incumbency advantage phenomenon

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Paper provided by Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics in its series UB Economics Working Papers with number 2014/314.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2014
Handle: RePEc:ewp:wpaper:314web
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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. 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.
  4. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
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  6. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2008. "Issue Unbundling via Citizens' Initiatives," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 379-397, December.
  7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:86:y:1992:i:04:p:951-965_09 is not listed on IDEAS
  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. 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.
  10. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  11. repec:cup:apsrev:v:57:y:1963:i:02:p:368-377_24 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Ansolabehere, Stephen & Snyder, James M, Jr, 2000. "Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 327-336, June.
  13. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Duggan, John, 2008. "A Dynamic Model of Democratic Elections in Multidimensional Policy Spaces," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(3), pages 269-299, October.
  14. 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.
  15. Gautam Gowrisankaran & Matthew F. Mitchell & Andrea Moro, 2008. "Electoral Design and Voter Welfare from the U.S. Senate: Evidence from a Dynamic Selection Model," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(1), pages 1-17, January.
  16. John G. Matsusaka, 2005. "Direct Democracy Works," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 185-206, Spring.
  17. W. Robert Reed, 1994. "A Retrospective Voting Model With Heterogeneous Politicians," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 39-58, March.
  18. Matsusaka, John G., 2010. "Popular Control of Public Policy: A Quantitative Approach," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 5(2), pages 133-167, August.
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