EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Signalling, Incumbency Advantage, and Optimal Reelection Thresholds

Francesco Caselli (), Tom Cunningham, Massimo Morelli () and Inés Moreno de Barreda

No 8832, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: Much literature on political behavior treats politicians as motivated by reelection, choosing actions to signal their types to voters. We identify two novel implications of models in which signalling incentives are important. First, because incumbents only care about clearing a reelection hurdle, signals will tend to cluster just above the threshold needed for reelection. This generates a skew distribution of signals leading to an incumbency advantage in the probability of election. Second, voters can exploit the signalling behavior of politicians by precommitting to a higher threshold for signals received. Raising the threshold discourages signalling effort by low quality politicians but encourages effort by high quality politicians, thus increasing the separation of signals and improving the selection function of an election. This precommitment has a simple institutional interpretation as a supermajority rule, requiring that incumbents exceed some fraction of votes greater than 50% to be reelected. A simple calibration suggests the average quality of US Congress members would be maximised by requiring a 57% vote share for reelection.

Keywords: Incumbency Advantage; Signalling; Sipermajority (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D78 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-cta and nep-pol
Date: 2012-02
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8832 (application/pdf)
CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

Related works:
Working Paper: Signalling, Incumbency Advantage, and Optimal Reelection Thresholds (2012) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8832

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.cepr.org/ ... ers/dp.php?dpno=8832

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers Centre for Economic Policy Research, 33 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2019-10-19
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8832