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Rank effects in political promotions

Jaakko Meriläinen () and Janne Tukiainen ()

Public Choice, 2018, vol. 177, issue 1, 87-109

Abstract: Abstract This paper studies the effect of candidates’ personal vote ranks on promotions to political power in an open list proportional representation system. Using a regression discontinuity design and data from Finnish local elections, we find that ranking first within a party enhances a politician’s chances of getting promoted to the position of a municipal board chair, the most important task in Finnish local politics. Other ranks matter less. We document that the effect of ranking first is larger when there is less within-party competition, but the role of external competition is ambiguous. Our evidence suggests that the mechanism behind the rank effects is primarily unrelated to electoral incentives but rather to party-specific norms or political culture. Ranks seem to be, however, only a complement to other promotion criteria such as politicians’ previous political experience or how close to the party lines their policy positions stand.

Keywords: Open list PR; Political promotions; Preference votes; Rank effects; Regression discontinuity design (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C21 D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:177:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-018-0591-8