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Last minute policies and the incumbency advantage

Elena Manzoni and Stefan P. Penczynski

No 229, Working Papers from University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper models a purely informational mechanism behind the incumbency advantage. In a two-period electoral campaign with two policy issues, a specialized incumbent and an unspecialized, but possibly more competent challenger compete for election by voters who are heterogeneously informed about the state of the world. Due to the asymmetries in government responsibility between candidates, the incumbent's statement may convey information on the relevance of the issues to voters. In equilibrium, the incumbent sometimes strategically releases his statement early and thus signals the importance of his signature issue to the voters. We find that, since the incumbent's positioning on the issue reveals private information which the challenger can use in later statements, the incumbent's incentives to distort the campaign are decreasing in the quality of the incumbent, as previously documented by the empirical literature. However, we show that this implies a non-monotonicity in the distortions that arise in equilibrium.

Keywords: Incumbency advantage; electoral competition; information revelation; agenda (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D60 D72 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 26
Date: 2013-01, Revised 2013-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cta and nep-pol
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http://repec.dems.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper229.pdf First version, 2013 (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Last Minute Policies and the Incumbency Advantage (2018) Downloads
Journal Article: Last Minute Policies and the Incumbency Advantage (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Last minute policies and the incumbency advantage (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Last Minute Policies and the Incumbency Advantage (2012) Downloads
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