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Incumbency Advantage in an Electoral Contest

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  • Matthew T. Cole

    () (Department of Economics, Florida International University)

  • Ivan Pastine

    (University College Dublin)

  • Tuvana Pastine

    (National University of Ireland Maynooth)

Abstract

In a campaign spending contest model, this paper investigates whether the sources of incumbency advantage are able to generate the observed pattern of campaign spending and incumbent reelection rates in US elections and assesses the degree to which campaign ?nance reform can mitigate the negative repercussions of incumbency advantage. The paper extends the existing literature by allowing the electoral bene?t to the candidate¡¯s visibility to be stochastic which is intuitively appealing since one dollar of extra spending should not take a candidate from a certain loser to a certain winner. Officeholders¡¯ ability to generate free media exposure alone is shown to be unable to match empirical regularities. Incumbent¡¯s superior fundraising efficiency is the key to matching the observed patterns. In contrast to previous literature, the model predicts that campaign ?nance legislation can help reduce the challenger scare-off effect of incumbency advantage.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew T. Cole & Ivan Pastine & Tuvana Pastine, 2013. "Incumbency Advantage in an Electoral Contest," Working Papers 1304, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:fiu:wpaper:1304
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pastine, Ivan & Pastine, Tuvana, 2012. "Incumbency advantage and political campaign spending limits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 20-32.
    2. David Austen-Smith, 1987. "Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 123-139, January.
    3. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph & van Winden, Frans, 1997. "Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements: The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behavior," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-31, February.
    4. Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "How prices matter in politics: the returns to campaign advertising," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 357-377, September.
    5. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 772-804, September.
    6. Mueller, Dennis C & Stratmann, Thomas, 1994. "Informative and Persuasive Campaigning," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 81(1-2), pages 55-77, October.
    7. Andrea Prat, 2002. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 999-1017.
    8. Paul Redmond, 2017. "Incumbent-challenger and open-seat elections in a spatial model of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(1), pages 79-97, January.
    9. 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.
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:01:p:33-47_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Yogesh Uppal, 2010. "Estimating Incumbency Effects In U.S. State Legislatures: A Quasi-Experimental Study," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(2), pages 180-199, July.
    12. Hao Jia, 2008. "A stochastic derivation of the ratio form of contest success functions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 125-130, June.
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