Public Choice

, Volume 156, Issue 3–4, pp 563–591 | Cite as

Two-round elections, one-round determinants? Evidence from the French municipal elections

  • Aurélie Cassette
  • Etienne Farvaque
  • Jérôme HéricourtEmail author


Using a new database of French municipalities that covers 821 towns and two elections (2001 and 2008), we examine how the budget structure, degree of electoral competition and the economic context affect the share of votes for the incumbent. We take into account the institutional details of the two-round structure of the electoral process created by French electoral rules (dual ballot under plurality rules). We show that in the first round of the electoral process, spending on equipment (including infrastructures) can influence the voter, and that electoral competition has a strong impact on the incumbent’s score. In the second round, the incumbent’s vote is affected more by national considerations and local budget variables have no effect. We show that the dynamics between the first and the second rounds are intense. The results suggest that the determinants of each round’s outcome in a two-round electoral process are different.


Economic voting Local elections Plurality rule Visible expenditures 

JEL Classification

D72 H72 H76 



Part of this research was funded by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), under grant FRAL 022. The authors thank the journal’s editor, William F. Shughart II, and referees for their suggestions which have significantly improved the paper. Thanks for useful comments go also to Alain Ayong-Le-Kama, Catherine Baumont, Dominique Bureau, Sébastien Courtin, Rodolphe Desbordes, Bernard Dolez, Nelly Exbrayat, Dirk Foremny, Elvire Guillaud, Jurgen von Hagen, Hakim Hammadou, Michel Hollard, Hubert Jayet, Krisztina Kis-Katos, Romain Lachat, Annie Laurent, Thierry Madiès, Sonia Paty, David Stadelmann, Morgane Tanvé, Nicolas Vaillant, Jean-Marc Vittori, and participants in the 2009 ASPE workshop, the 58th AFSE, the 68th MPSA, the 27th JMA, the EPCS 2011 conferences, and seminars in Bonn, Grenoble and Lille. Thanks go also to Marion Romo for research assistance. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aurélie Cassette
    • 1
  • Etienne Farvaque
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jérôme Héricourt
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.EQUIPPE-University of LilleUniversité de Lille 1Villeneuve d’Ascq CedexFrance
  2. 2.Faculté des Affaires InternationalesUniversité du HavreLe Havre CedexFrance
  3. 3.Skema Business SchoolEuralilleFrance
  4. 4.Centre d’Economie de la SorbonneParis Cedex 13France

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