Posts categorized under Elections

Lame duck politicians and fiscal policy

February 3, 2022
Does the introduction of term limits affect policymaking? Elections have a salutary disciplining effect as long as they urge politicians to act on behalf of the electorate. If politicians place too high a value on holding office, consequences may yet be pernicious. To boost their probability of re-election, politicians may end up favoring policies that are popular among voters instead of those they would otherwise promote. Once ineligible, they have fewer incentives to please the electorate.

Political cycles in municipal revenue forecasts

January 27, 2022
Recent studies suggest that governments use overly optimistic revenue forecasts to expand their fiscal room for maneuver in election years in order to increase their chances of re-election. This paper starts by providing a theory for this observation that is based on the assumption that uninformed voters mistake the fiscal activity of the government for competence. As a result, the budget is expanded in election years, but cut in off-election years.

Voter turnout in municipal elections

October 19, 2021
Electoral participation in Portugal has been decreasing across all elections being below 60% in recent times. This study asks if the number of elected representatives in an election for Town Council is related with voter turnout. To motivate the analysis, the paper constructs an index that proxies for each voter’s voting power defined as the ratio of the number of seats in the Town Council to the number of voters in the municipality.

Who should you vote for? Or, what makes a good mayor?

September 14, 2021
According to a survey ran by the Portuguese Electoral Behavior Project after the local elections in 2001 and 2005, around 50% of the Portuguese inquired voted for the party they preferred and did not take into account other characteristics of its head candidate. Bourdain (2008) explains that these electors voted for the party of preference and not the head candidate because they believed that being a representative of a given political party is the most important characteristic of a politician for policy outcomes.

Can ATMs get out the vote?

November 19, 2019
This paper reports on a large-scale (randomized) field experiment designed to assess ATMs’ (automatic teller machines) capacity to “get out the vote”, an unexploited method of voter mobilization. The experimental design used the full universe of functioning ATMs in Portugal, which benefits from a sophisticated world class system with wide national coverage. The experiment randomly selected a set of treatment civil parishes, where a civic message took over the totality of ad time in ATMs, and compared with a set of control civil parishes where advertisements ran as usual.