NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Coordination and Bandwagon Effects of Candidate Rankings: Evidence from Runoff Elections

Vincent Pons, Clémence Tricaud

NBER Working Paper No. 26599
Issued in December 2019
NBER Program(s):Political Economy Program

To predict others’ behavior and make their own choices, voters and candidates can rely on information provided by polls and past election results. We isolate the impact of candidates’ rankings using an RDD in French local and parliamentary two-round elections, where up to 3 or 4 candidates can qualify for the second round. Candidates who barely ranked first in the first round are more likely to run in the second round (5.6pp), win (5.8pp), and win conditionally on running (2.9 to 5.9pp), than those who barely ranked second. The effects are even larger for ranking second instead of third (23.5, 9.9, and 6.9 to 12.2pp), and also present for ranking third instead of fourth (14.6, 2.2, and 3.0 to 5.0pp). The impact of rankings is largest when the candidates have the same political orientation (making coordination relatively more important and desirable), but it remains strong when two candidates only qualify for the second round (and there is no need for coordination). Overall, our evidence suggests that both coordination and bandwagon effects are important drivers of the behavior of candidates and voters and of election outcomes.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26599

 
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