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The Runner-Up Effect

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  • Santosh Anagol
  • Thomas Fujiwara

Abstract

Exploiting regression discontinuity designs in Brazilian, Indian, and Canadian first-past-the-post elections, we document that second-place candidates are substantially more likely than close third-place candidates to run in, and win, subsequent elections. Since both candidates lost the election and had similar electoral performance, this is the effect of being labeled the runner-up. We explore the potential mechanisms for this runner-up effect, including selection into candidacy, heuristic behavior by political actors, and the runner-up obtaining an advantage from strategic coordination (being more likely to become a focal point). Selection into candidacy is unlikely to explain the effect on winning subsequent elections, and the weight of evidence suggests the effect is driven by strategic coordination. We find no effect of finishing in third-place versus fourth-place.

Suggested Citation

  • Santosh Anagol & Thomas Fujiwara, 2014. "The Runner-Up Effect," NBER Working Papers 20261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20261
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    Cited by:

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    2. Martín Gonzalez-Eiras & Carlos Sanz, 2018. "Women’s representation in politics: voter bias, party bias, and electoral systems," Working Papers 1834, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    3. Meriläinen, Jaakko & Tukiainen, Janne, 2016. "Primary Effect in Open-List Elections," Working Papers 79, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Bucheli, Jose R., 2020. "Immigration Policy and Hispanics' Willingness to Run for Office," IZA Discussion Papers 13698, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Vincent Pons & Clémence Tricaud, 2019. "The Large Effects of a Small Win: How Past Rankings Shape the Behavior of Voters and Candidates," NBER Working Papers 26599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Born, Andreas & Janssen, Aljoscha, 2020. "Does a District-Vote Matter for the Behavior of Politicians? A Textual Analysis of Parliamentary Speeches," Working Paper Series 1320, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    7. Fiva, Jon H. & Røhr, Helene Lie, 2018. "Climbing the ranks: incumbency effects in party-list systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 142-156.
    8. Leandro De Magalhaes & Dominik Hangartner & Salomo Hirvonen & Jaakko Meriläinen & Nelson A. Ruiz, 2020. "How Much Should We Trust Regression Discontinuity Design Estimates? Evidence from Experimental Benchmarks of the Incumbency Advantage," Discussion Papers 135, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    9. Thomas Fujiwara & Carlos Sanz, 2020. "Rank Effects in Bargaining: Evidence from Government Formation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 1261-1295.
    10. Jaakko Meriläinen & Janne Tukiainen, 2018. "Rank effects in political promotions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 177(1), pages 87-109, October.
    11. Thomas Fujiwara & Carlos Sanz, 2017. "Norms in bargaining: evidence from government formation in Spain," Working Papers 1741, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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