The Informational Value of Incumbency

31 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2007

See all articles by Carmen Bevia

Carmen Bevia

Universidad de Alicante

Humberto Llavador

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences

Date Written: April 2006

Abstract

This paper proposes an argument that explains incumbency advantage without recurring to the collective irresponsibility of legislatures. For that purpose, we exploit the informational value of incumbency: incumbency confers voters information about governing politicians not available from challengers. Because there are many reasons for high reelection rates different from incumbency status, we propose a measure of incumbency advantage that improves the use of pure reelection success. We also study the relationship between incumbency advantage and ideological and selection biases. An important implication of our analysis is that the literature linking incumbency and legislature irresponsibility most likely provides an overestimation of the latter.

Keywords: Incumbency, information, candidate quality, selection bias, ideology

JEL Classification: D72, D78

Suggested Citation

Bevia, Carmen and Llavador, Humberto, The Informational Value of Incumbency (April 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1002302 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1002302

Carmen Bevia

Universidad de Alicante ( email )

Campus de San Vicente, sn
Alicante, 03690
Spain

Humberto Llavador (Contact Author)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
(34) 93 542 23 81 (Phone)
(34) 93 542 17 46 (Fax)

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