Returns to Office in National and Local Politics: A Bootstrap Method and Evidence from Finland
Kotakorpi, Kaisa; Poutvaara, Panu; Terviö, Marko (2017)
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Oxford University Press
We estimate the private returns to being elected to parliament or to a municipal council using a regression discontinuity (RD) design. We first present a bootstrap method for measuring the closeness of elections, which can be applied to any electoral system. We then apply the method to perform an RD estimation in Finland, where seats are assigned according to a proportional open list system. Becoming a member of parliament increases annual earnings initially by about €20,000, and getting elected to a municipal council by about €1000. Subsequent earnings dynamics reveal that the returns to parliamentarians accrue mainly during the time in office, while the effect on later earnings is small. We also find a relatively weak individual incumbency advantage of 18 percentage points in parliamentary elections; the incumbency effect in municipal elections is negligible.
returns to office, close elections, regression discontinuity