IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwppe/0505009.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Incumbency Effects in German and British Elections: A Quasi- Experimental Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Jens Hainmueller

    (Harvard University)

  • Holger Lutz Kern

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

Following the recent turn towards quasi-experimental approaches in the US literature on the incumbency advantage (Lee, 2001; Lee, forthcoming), we employ a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD) to identify the causal effects of party incumbency in British and German post-World War II elections. The RDD framework exploits the randomized variation in incumbency status that occurs when a district race is close. Based on the assumption that parties do not exert perfect control over their observed vote shares, incumbents that barely won a race should be similar in their distribution of observed and unobserved confounders to non-incumbents that barely lost. This provides us with a naturally occurring counterfactual exploitable for causal inference under a weaker set of assumptions than conventional regression designs commonly used in the incumbency literature. In both British and German federal elections, we find that party incumbency has a signifcant positive impact on vote shares and the probability of winning in marginal districts, the sub- population of interest for which incumbency advantage is likely to make a difference. This stands in contrast to previous more ambiguous findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Jens Hainmueller & Holger Lutz Kern, 2005. "Incumbency Effects in German and British Elections: A Quasi- Experimental Approach," Public Economics 0505009, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0505009
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 56
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/pe/papers/0505/0505009.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-620, September.
    2. Honaker, James & Katz, Jonathan N. & King, Gary, 2002. "A Fast, Easy, and Efficient Estimator for Multiparty Electoral Data," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 84-100, December.
    3. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
    4. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366 Elsevier.
    5. Hardle, Wolfgang & Linton, Oliver, 1986. "Applied nonparametric methods," Handbook of Econometrics,in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 38, pages 2295-2339 Elsevier.
    6. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Erich Battistin & Enrico Rettore, 2003. "Another look at the regression discontinuity design," CeMMAP working papers CWP01/03, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    8. Knack, Steve, 1994. "Does Rain Help the Republicans? Theory and Evidence on Turnout and the Vote," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(1-2), pages 187-209, April.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:78:y:1984:i:01:p:110-125_25 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. David S. Lee, 2001. "The Electoral Advantage to Incumbency and Voters' Valuation of Politicians' Experience: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Elections to the U.S..," NBER Working Papers 8441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
    12. Erich Battistin & Enrico Rettore, 2002. "Testing for programme effects in a regression discontinuity design with imperfect compliance," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(1), pages 39-57.
    13. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:01:p:49-69_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
    15. Hardle, Wolfgang & Linton, Oliver, 1986. "Applied nonparametric methods," Handbook of Econometrics,in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 38, pages 2295-2339 Elsevier.
    16. Bawn, Kathleen, 1999. "Voter Responses to Electoral Complexity: Ticket Splitting, Rational Voters and Representation in the Federal Republic of Germany," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(03), pages 487-505, June.
    17. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ade, Florian & Freier, Ronny & Odendahl, Christian, 2014. "Incumbency effects in government and opposition: Evidence from Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 117-134.
    2. Ronny Freier, 2011. "Incumbency as the Major Advantage: The Electoral Advantage for Parties of Incumbent Mayors," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1147, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Florian Ade & Ronny Freier & Christian Odendahl, 2011. "Incumbency, Party Identity and Governmental Lead: Evidence for Heterogeneous Incumbency Effects for Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1177, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Freier, Ronny, 2015. "The mayor's advantage: Causal evidence on incumbency effects in German mayoral elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 16-30.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incumbency advantage; quasi-experiment; Germany; Great Britain; elections; causal inference;

    JEL classification:

    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H - Public Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0505009. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.