Thomas E. Cunningham
Institutional Affiliation: Stockholm University
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|February 2012||Signalling, Incumbency Advantage, and Optimal Reelection Thresholds|
with Francesco Caselli, Massimo Morelli, Inés Moreno de Barreda: w17833
Much literature on political behavior treats politicians as motivated by reelection, choosing actions to signal their types to voters. We identify two novel implications of models in which signalling incentives are important. First, because incumbents only care about clearing a reelection hurdle, signals will tend to cluster just above the threshold needed for reelection. This generates a skew distribution of signals leading to an incumbency advantage in the probability of election. Second, voters can exploit the signalling behavior of politicians by precommitting to a higher threshold for signals received. Raising the threshold discourages signalling effort by low quality politicians but encourages effort by high quality politicians, thus increasing the separation of signals and improving...
Published: The Incumbency Effects of Signalling Francesco Caselli1, Tom Cunningham2, Massimo Morelli3 andInés Moreno de Barreda4