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Could Regression Discontinuity estimates of incumbency e ects help monitor parliamentary elections? Evidence from Malawi

Leandro de Magalhaes () and Isabel Spirgel-Sinclair

Bristol Economics Discussion Papers from School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK

Abstract: We propose that regression discontinuity (RD) estimates of incumbency e ects on the probability of re-running and winning be used in pre-election and real-time election monitoring. We illustrate this proposal with a case study of Malawi, which has two rare features for a Sub-Saharan African country: i) publicly available electoral data from democratization in 1994 to 2019 and ii) an election that came under close scrutiny from the media and from the Malawi High Court in 2019. We further contribute by being the rst to estimate both the individual and party incumbency advantage in an African country using multiple electoral cycles. We nd no evidence of an incumbency advantage or disadvantage.

Date: 2021-03-23
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