Does Regression Discontinuity Design Work? Evidence from Random Election Outcomes

Government Institute for Economic Research Working Papers No. 59

75 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2014

See all articles by Ari Hyytinen

Ari Hyytinen

University of Jyväskylä

Jaakko Meriläinen

Stockholm University, Students

Tuukka Saarimaa

Aalto University - School of Business; Aalto University - School of Engineering

Otto Toivanen

Aalto University - Department of Economics; KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE); CEPR; Helsinki Center of Economic Research (HECER)

Janne Tukiainen

VATT Institute for Economic Research; University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 20, 2014

Abstract

We use data for 198121 candidates and 1351 random election outcomes to estimate the effect of incumbency status on future electoral success. We find no evidence of incumbency advantage using data on randomized elections. In contrast, regression discontinuity design, using optimal bandwidths, produces a positive and significant incumbency effect. Using even narrower bandwidths aligns the results with those obtained using the randomized elections. So does the bias-correction of Calonico et al. (forthcoming). Standard validity tests are not useful in detecting the problems with the optimal bandwidths. The appropriate bandwidth seems narrower in larger elections and is thus context specific.

Keywords: Elections, experiment, incumbency advantage, regression discontinuity design

JEL Classification: D720, C520, C210

Suggested Citation

Hyytinen, Ari and Meriläinen, Jaakko and Saarimaa, Tuukka and Toivanen, Otto and Tukiainen, Janne, Does Regression Discontinuity Design Work? Evidence from Random Election Outcomes (November 20, 2014). Government Institute for Economic Research Working Papers No. 59. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2536286 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2536286

Ari Hyytinen

University of Jyväskylä ( email )

PO Box 35
Jyväskylä, 40014
Finland

HOME PAGE: http://www.jyu.fi

Jaakko Meriläinen

Stockholm University, Students ( email )

Stockholm
Sweden

Tuukka Saarimaa

Aalto University - School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
AALTO, FI-00076
Finland

Aalto University - School of Engineering ( email )

PO BOX 14100
Aalto 00076
Finland

Otto Toivanen

Aalto University - Department of Economics ( email )

PO Box 1210
FI-00101 Helsinki
Finland

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) ( email )

Naamsestraat 69
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

CEPR ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Helsinki Center of Economic Research (HECER)

FI-00014 Helsinki
Finland

Janne Tukiainen (Contact Author)

VATT Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Arkadiankatu 7
P.O Box 1279
Helsinki, FIN-00101
Finland

University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Rehtorinpellonkatu 3
Turku, 20014
Finland

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
86
Abstract Views
398
rank
294,065
PlumX Metrics