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The Impact of Incumbency on Turnout: Evidence from Italian Municipalities

Author

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  • De Benedetto, Marco Alberto

    () (University of Messina)

  • De Paola, Maria

    () (University of Calabria)

Abstract

We analyze how having an incumbent among candidates affects electoral turnout. We use a rich data set providing information on the electoral results of Italian municipal elections over the period 1993-2011. Endogeneity issues are handled through an instrumental variable approach using the mayor term-limit as an instrument for the presence of the incumbent mayor among candidates. Controlling for electoral competition, we find that the impact of incumbency is heterogeneous across geographical areas: incumbency increases turnout in the South of Italy, whereas we do not find any statistically significant effect in the North. As the positive effect holds true only for southern municipalities endowed with low levels of social capital we speculate that this is the result of incumbent politicians using their resources to establish clienteles.

Suggested Citation

  • De Benedetto, Marco Alberto & De Paola, Maria, 2013. "The Impact of Incumbency on Turnout: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," IZA Discussion Papers 7612, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7612
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. De Benedetto, Marco Alberto & De Paola, Maria, 2019. "Term limit extension and electoral participation. Evidence from a diff-in-discontinuities design at the local level in Italy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 196-211.
    2. Jan Fałkowski & Grażyna Bukowska, 2016. "Monopolizacja władzy a wyniki gospodarcze na poziomie Polski lokalnej," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 2, pages 91-120.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    incumbency; political participation; electoral turnout; social capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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