No Sorting, No Advantage: Regression Discontinuity Estimates of Incumbency Advantage in Japan
Electoral Studies, Vol. 43, pp. 21-31, September, 2016
44 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2015 Last revised: 7 May 2018
Date Written: March 16, 2016
While the existing literature has identified a sizable incumbency advantage in single-member district (SMD) races in developed democracies, we argue that some political and institutional contexts of Japan’s Lower House elections would undermine the incumbency advantage. Our regression discontinuity (RD) analysis indeed shows little advantage, and further examination suggests this as largely due to the “best-loser” provision in Japan’s mixed-member system, which gives a loser of SMD competition a chance to be a “resurrected” incumbent. We also show no evidence of sorting -- i.e., systematic difference between bare winners and bare losers -- in close SMD races and thus add further evidence to support the methodological argument that the election RD analysis is a viable and promising research design.
Keywords: incumbency advantage, regression discontinuity, mixed-member electoral system, Japan
JEL Classification: C20, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation