Incumbent performance and electoral control

  title={Incumbent performance and electoral control},
  author={John A. Ferejohn},
  journal={Public Choice},
In the pure theory of electoral competition, citizens compare the platforms of the candidates and vote for the one whose platform is preferred. Candidate strategies are identified with promises about future performance in office. Models of this sort have been developed in both static [McKelvey (1975)] and dynamic [Kramer (1977)I settings, and all appear to have the property that if the set of alternatives is "large enough" in some sense, equilibrium platforms rarely exist. But these models have… 

Electoral control in the presence of gridlocks

This article presents a game-theoretic partisan model of voting and political bar- gaining. In a two-period setup, votersrst elect an executive incumbent and the legislators from a pool of candidates

Accountability and Political Competition: Theory and Evidence ∗

One of the central issues in political economy concerns how to create a form of government that responds to voters needs. The preconditions for achieving this are widely debated. Recent interest has

Candidate Objectives and Electoral Equilibrium

Elections, as the institution through which citizens choose their political agents, are at the core of representative democracy. It is therefore appropriate that they occupy a central position in the

Incumbency (Dis)Advantage When Citizens Can Propose

This paper analyses the problem that an incumbent faces during the legislature when deciding how to react to citizen proposals such as the outcome of referenda or popular initiatives. We argue that

Reference Dependence and Politicians' Credibility

We consider a model of electoral competition in which two politicians compete to get elected. Each politician is characterized by a valence, which is unobservable to voters and can take one of two

The Winning Card of an Underdog

I analyze a repeated election with imperfect information with uninformed voters. I show that the interaction between one dimensional transfers, which are observable, and a currently unobservable


This paper extends the performance-based voting models of Barro (1973), Ferejohn (1986), and Austen-Smith and Banks (1990) by including heterogeneous politicians. The introduction of heterogeneous

A Theory of Split-Ticket Voting: Biased Politicians as Contestants

policy, but also in the quality of policy, the improvement of which requires costly efforts. Under this circumstance, if the executive and the legislature are elected from the same party, they behave

Electoral accountability and political competence

Much research contends that candidate competence brings technical or political skill, such that selecting against such attributes seems irrational. However, if special interest coalitions are

Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-party System with Rational Voters

The traditional approach to modeling political parties' behavior, based upon the contribution of Anthony Downs (1957), assumes that the parties' unique objective is to win elections: thus, they



Short-Term Fluctuations in U.S. Voting Behavior, 1896–1964

This paper develops several simple multivariate statistical models and applies them to explain fluctuations in the aggregate vote for the United States House of Representatives, over the period

Political Control of the Economy

Speculations about the effects of politics on economic life have a long and vital tradition, but few efforts have been made to determine the precise relationship between them. Edward Tufte, a

The control of politicians: An economic model

This paper applies economic theory to an analysis of behavior in the public sector. The model focuses on the division of interest between the public and its political representatives. The division of

Reciprocal Effects of Policy Preferences, Party Loyalties and the Vote

Past studies have offered diverse estimates of the role of policy preferences, party loyalties, candidate personalities and other factors in voting decisions. Most have postulated recursive (that is,

A New View of Political Accountability for Economic Performance

Most political support models imply that in evaluating economic performance, voters use a standard that would provide poor predictions of the future and leave the economy vulnerable to manipulation

Congress: The Electoral Connection

In this second edition to a book that has now achieved canonical status, David R. Mayhew argues that the principal motivation of legislators is reelection and that the pursuit of this goal affects

The Law and Economics of Public Policy: A Plea to the Scholars

  • G. Stigler
  • Economics
    The Journal of Legal Studies
  • 1972
THE economic policies of a government are, to the extent that they utilize the skills of the more or less learned expert, chiefly the product of the lawyer and the economist. Economic policies are

Retrospective voting in American national elections

a useful introduction for an American audience to European historical social research. Most of the papers focus on technical problems of data availability and archiving, measurement and

Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers

THE new economic approach to political behavior seeks to develop a positive theory of legislation, in contrast to the normative approach of welfare economics. The new approach asks why certain

Policy Related Voting and Electoral Equilibrium