Off-Cycle and Out of Office: Election Timing and the Incumbency Advantage

  title={Off-Cycle and Out of Office: Election Timing and the Incumbency Advantage},
  author={Justin de Benedictis-Kessner},
  journal={The Journal of Politics},
  pages={119 - 132}
Democratic accountability relies on the ability of citizens to reward and punish politicians in elections. Electoral institutions, such as the timing of elections, may play a powerful role in this process. In this article, I assess how on-cycle (concurrent) and off-cycle elections affect one facet of accountability—the incumbency advantage—using data on nearly 10,000 mayoral elections in cities over the past 60 years. Using a regression discontinuity design, I find that incumbency carries a… 
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