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Incumbent-Quality Advantage and Counterfactual Electoral Stagnation in the U.S. Senate

  • Ivan Pastine

    (University College Dublin)

  • Tuvana Pastine

    (NUI Maynooth)

  • Paul Redmond

    (NUI Maynooth)

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.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/WP12_18.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Paper provided by School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201218.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: 10 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201218
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Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics

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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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