Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/89869
Authors: 
De Benedetto, Marco Alberto
De Paola, Maria
Year of Publication: 
2013
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Paper 7612
Abstract: 
We analyze how having an incumbent among candidates affects electoral turnout. We use a rich data set providing information on the electoral results of Italian municipal elections over the period 1993-2011. Endogeneity issues are handled through an instrumental variable approach using the mayor term-limit as an instrument for the presence of the incumbent mayor among candidates. Controlling for electoral competition, we find that the impact of incumbency is heterogeneous across geographical areas: incumbency increases turnout in the South of Italy, whereas we do not find any statistically significant effect in the North. As the positive effect holds true only for southern municipalities endowed with low levels of social capital we speculate that this is the result of incumbent politicians using their resources to establish clienteles.
Subjects: 
incumbency
political participation
electoral turnout
social capital
JEL: 
D72
D78
J71
J16
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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