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The Primary Effect: Preference Votes and Political Promotions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for International Economic Studies. Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Canada.
Number of Authors: 3
2016 (English)In: American Political Science Review, ISSN 0003-0554, E-ISSN 1537-5943, Vol. 110, no 3, 559-578 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this analysis of how electoral rules and outcomes shape the internal organization of political parties, we make an analogy to primary elections to argue that parties use preference-vote tallies to identify popular politicians and promote them to positions of power. We document this behavior among parties in Sweden's semi-open-list system and in Brazil's open-list system. To identify a causal impact of preference votes, we exploit a regression discontinuity design around the threshold of winning the most preference votes on a party list. In our main case, Sweden, these narrow primary winners are at least 50% more likely to become local party leaders than their runners-up. Across individual politicians, the primary effect is present only for politicians who hold the first few positions on the list and when the preference-vote winner and runner-up have similar competence levels. Across party groups, the primary effect is the strongest in unthreatened governing parties.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 110, no 3, 559-578 p.
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137548DOI: 10.1017/S0003055416000241ISI: 000388210200010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-137548DiVA: diva2:1064818
Available from: 2017-01-13 Created: 2017-01-09 Last updated: 2017-01-13Bibliographically approved

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