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Incumbent-quality advantage and counterfactual electoral stagnation in the U.S. Senate

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  • Ivan Pastine
  • Tuvana Pastine
  • Paul Redmond

Abstract

This paper presents a simple statistical exercise to provide a benchmark for the degree of electoral stagnation without direct officeholder benefits or challenger scare-off effects. Here electoral stagnation arises solely due to incumbent-quality advantage where the higher quality candidate wins the election. The simulation is calibrated using the observed drop-out rates in the U.S. Senate. From 1946 to 2010, the observed incumbent reelection rate is 81.7 percent; the benchmark with incumbent-quality advantage alone is able to generate a reelection rate of 78.2 percent. In the sub-sample from 1946 to 1978, the reelection rate from the simulation is almost identical to the observed. The rates diverge in the second part of the sub-sample from 1980 to 2010, possibly indicating an increase in electoral stagnation due to incumbency advantage arising for reasons other than incumbent-quality advantage.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivan Pastine & Tuvana Pastine & Paul Redmond, 2012. "Incumbent-quality advantage and counterfactual electoral stagnation in the U.S. Senate," Working Papers 201218, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201218
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/3776
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gautam Gowrisankaran & Matthew F. Mitchell & Andrea Moro, 2008. "Electoral Design and Voter Welfare from the U.S. Senate: Evidence from a Dynamic Selection Model," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(1), pages 1-17, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Redmond, Paul & Regan, John, 2015. "Incumbency advantage in a proportional electoral system: A regression discontinuity analysis of Irish elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 244-256.

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    Keywords

    Incumbent-quality advantage; Counterfactual electoral stagnation; Voting research; United States. Congress. Senate--Elections;

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