Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 14 > Issue 2

Reputation Effects and Incumbency (Dis)Advantage

Navin Kartik, Columbia University, USA, nkartik@columbia.edu Richard Van Weelden, University of Pittsburgh, USA, rmv22@pitt.edu
 
Suggested Citation
Navin Kartik and Richard Van Weelden (2019), "Reputation Effects and Incumbency (Dis)Advantage", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 14: No. 2, pp 131-157. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00016057

Published: 10 Apr 2019
© 2019 N. Kartik and R. Van Weelden
 
Subjects
Elections,  Electoral Institutions,  Formal Modeling,  Game Theory,  Political Corruption,  Political Economy,  Voting behavior,  Uncertainty,  Voting
 
Keywords
Electoral accountabilityincumbency effectsreputationpanderingterm limits
 

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In this article:
A Model with Term Limits
Good and Bad Reputation
Main Results
Incumbency Effects when Type is Revealed in Office
Conclusion
Appendices
Proof of Proposition 2
Simultaneous Good and Bad Reputation
Out-of-Office Policy Payoffs
References

Abstract

We study dynamic models of electoral accountability. Politicians' policy preferences are their private information, so officeholders act to influence the electorate's beliefs — i.e., to build reputation — and improve their re-election prospects. The resulting behavior may be socially desirable (good reputation effects) or undesirable (bad reputation effects). When newly-elected officeholders face stronger reputation pressures than their established counterparts, good reputation effects give rise to incumbency disadvantage, while bad reputation effects induce incumbency advantage, all else equal. We relate these results to empirical patterns on incumbency effects across democracies.

DOI:10.1561/100.00016057