Moral Hazard in Electoral Teams
63 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2020
Date Written: 2020
How do parties motivate candidates to exert effort in closed-list elections? If each candidate's primary goal is winning a seat, then those in safe and hopeless list positions have weak incentives to campaign. We present a model in which (i) candidates care about both legislative seats and the higher offices available when their party enters government; and (ii) parties commit to allocating higher offices monotonically with list rank. This model predicts that the volume and geo-diversity of candidates' campaign efforts will increase as their list rank improves. Using new data covering Norwegian parliamentary candidates' use of mass and social media during the 2017 election, we find clear support for this prediction. As their list rank increases, candidates shift from intra-district to extra-district media exposure—which cannot help them win their own seats; but can improve their party's chance of entering government, and thus their own potential share of the spoils.
Keywords: party lists, cabinet promotion, Gamson's law, proportional representation, voter mobilization
JEL Classification: D720
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation