The disadvantaged incumbents: estimating incumbency effects in Indian state legislatures
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This paper estimates the incumbency effects using a large dataset on state legislative elections in India during 1975–2003. I use a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD) that estimates the causal effect of incumbency by comparing candidates in closely fought elections. I find that there is a significant disadvantage to incumbency in Indian State legislative elections, and the adverse effect of incumbency has increased after 1991. Also, the incumbency disadvantage is higher in states that have lower availability of public goods such as health centers, and lower employment, poverty and per capita income.
KeywordsIncumbency disadvantage Regression discontinuity design Indian elections
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