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The Impact of Incumbency on Turnout: Evidence from Italian Municipalities

Author

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  • De Benedetto, Marco Alberto

    () (Birkbeck, University of London)

  • 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7612
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christine Fauvelle-Aymar & Abel François, 2006. "The impact of closeness on turnout: An empirical relation based on a study of a two-round ballot," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 461-483, June.
    2. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2008. "Bureaucrats or politicians? Part II: Multiple policy tasks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 426-447, April.
    3. Yogesh Uppal, 2009. "The disadvantaged incumbents: estimating incumbency effects in Indian state legislatures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(1), pages 9-27, January.
    4. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    5. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo & Lombardo, Rosetta, 2010. "Can gender quotas break down negative stereotypes? Evidence from changes in electoral rules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(5-6), pages 344-353, June.
    6. Tommaso Nannicini & Andrea Stella & Guido Tabellini & Ugo Troiano, 2013. "Social Capital and Political Accountability," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 222-250, May.
    7. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753.
    8. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2012. "The Causal Impact Of Closeness On Electoral Participation Exploiting The Italian Dual Ballot System," Working Papers 201203, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    9. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo & De Benedetto, Marco Alberto, 2014. "The impact of gender quotas on electoral participation: Evidence from Italian municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 141-157.
    10. Jimenez, Emmanuel & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 1999. "Do Community-Managed Schools Work? An Evaluation of El Salvador's EDUCO Program," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(3), pages 415-441, September.
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    13. repec:cup:apsrev:v:104:y:2010:i:02:p:268-288_00 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Fałkowski & Grażyna Bukowska, 2016. "Monopolizacja władzy a wyniki gospodarcze na poziomie Polski lokalnej," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 2, pages 91-120.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incumbency; political participation; electoral turnout; social capital;

    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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