Rank effects in political promotions
Meriläinen, Jaakko; Tukiainen, Janne (2018)
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This paper studies the effect of candidates’ personal vote ranks on promotions to political power in an open list proportional representation system. Using a regression discontinuity design and data from Finnish local elections, we find that ranking first within a party enhances a politician’s chances of getting promoted to the position of a municipal board chair, the most important task in Finnish local politics. Other ranks matter less. We document that the effect of ranking first is larger when there is less within-party competition, but the role of external competition is ambiguous. Our evidence suggests that the mechanism behind the rank effects is primarily unrelated to electoral incentives but rather to party-specific norms or political culture. Ranks seem to be, however, only a complement to other promotion criteria such as politicians’ previous political experience or how close to the party lines their policy positions stand.
Open list PR, Political promotions, Preference votes, Rank effects, Regression discontinuity design