Working Paper

Incumbency Disadvantage in U.S. National Politics: The Role of Policy Inertia and Prospective Voting

Abstract: We document that postwar U.S. national elections show a strong pattern of incumbency disadvantage\": If the presidency has been held by a party for some time, that party tends to lose seats in Congress. We develop a model of partisan politics with policy inertia and prospective voting to explain this finding. Positive and normative implications of the model are explored.

Keywords: rational partisan model; incumbency disadvantage; policy inertia; prospective voting; median voter;

JEL Classification: D72; H50;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2017-12-21

Number: 17-43

Pages: 52 pages