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Faculty of Economics

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Savu, A.

Reverse Political Coattails under a Technocratic Government: New Evidence on the National Electoral Benefits of Local Party Incumbency


Abstract: Does the control of local offices benefit parties in national elections when local incumbents are not strategically supported by the central government? To address this question, I study the national electoral effects of local party incumbency in the context of a technocratic central government instituted following an unexpected tragic event that forced the resignation of the previous government. Using a regression discontinuity method applied to mayoral races in Romania, I document that the control of local offices causally generated significant vote share premia in the 2016 parliamentary ballot - estimated at 10-11 percentage points, or roughly one fourth of the dependent variable’s mean. My results show that the affiliation of local incumbents can be consequential for parliamentary power absent a contemporaneous party alignment linking local and central governmental forces.

Keywords: Central and Local Governments, Reverse Coattails, Local Incumbency, Clientelism, Political Parties, Elections

JEL Codes: D72 D73 H50 H72 H77

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