Incumbency Disadvantage in U.S. National Politics: The Role of Policy Inertia and Prospective Voting
52 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2018
Date Written: 2017-12-21
We document that postwar U.S. national elections show a strong pattern of "incumbency disadvantage": If the presidency has been held by a party for some time, that party tends to lose seats in Congress. We develop a model of partisan politics with policy inertia and prospective voting to explain this finding. Positive and normative implications of the model are explored.
Keywords: rational partisan model, incumbency disadvantage, policy inertia, prospective voting, median voter
JEL Classification: D72, H50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation