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A Political Agency Model of Coattail Voting

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  • Zudenkova, Galina

Abstract

This paper provides a theoretical model for the coattail effect, where a popular candidate for one branch of government attracts votes to candidates from the same political party for other branches of government. I assume a political agency framework with moral hazard in order to analyze the coattail effect in simultaneous presidential and congressional elections. I show that coattail voting is the outcome of the optimal reelection scheme adopted by a representative voter to motivate politicians' efforts in a retrospective voting environment. I assume that an office-motivated politician (executive or member of congress) prefers her counterpart to be affiliated with the same political party. This correlation of incentives leads the voter to adopt a joint performance evaluation rule, which is conditioned on the politicians belonging to the same party or to different parties. Two-sided coattail effects then arise. On the one hand, an executive's success props up, while failure drags down, her partisan ally in the congressional election, which implies a presidential coattail effect. On the other hand, the executive's reelection itself is affected by a congress member's performance, which results in a reverse coattail effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Zudenkova, Galina, 2010. "A Political Agency Model of Coattail Voting," MPRA Paper 28800, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28800
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    2. Balasubramaniam, Vimal & Bhatiya, Apurav Yash & Das, Sabyasachi, 2020. "Synchronized Elections,Voter Behavior and Governance Outcomes : Evidence from India," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1276, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    3. Zudenkova, Galina, 2011. "A Model of Party Discipline in a Congress," Working Papers 2072/151813, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    4. Casas, Agustín & Díaz, Guillermo & Trindade, André, 2017. "Who monitors the monitor? Effect of party observers on electoral outcomes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 136-149.
    5. Ross Hickey, 2015. "Intergovernmental transfers and re-election concerned politicians," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 331-351, November.
    6. Stephan Schneider & Sven Kunze, 2021. "Disastrous Discretion: Ambiguous Decision Situations Foster Political Favoritism," KOF Working papers 21-491, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    7. Christopher Duquette & Franklin Mixon & Richard Cebula, 2013. "The Impact of Legislative Tenure and Seniority on General Election Success: Econometric Evidence from U.S. House Races," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 41(2), pages 161-172, June.
    8. Oana Borcan, 2016. "The illicit beneficts of local party alignment in national elections," University of East Anglia School of Economics Working Paper Series 2016-10, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    9. Gomberg, Andrei & Gutiérrez, Emilio & López, Paulina & Vázquez, Alejandra, 2019. "Coattails and the forces that drive them: Evidence from Mexico," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 64-81.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Coattail voting; Presidential coattail effect; Reverse coattail effect; Simultaneous elections; Political Agency; Retrospective voting.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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