The Disadvantage of Winning an Election

E. Aragones, Santiago Sanchez-Pages

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


This paper analyzes the problem that an incumbent faces during
the legislature when deciding how to react to popular initiatives or
policy proposals coming from different sources. We argue that this
potential source of electoral disadvantage that the incumbent obtains
after being elected can jeopardize the reelection possibilities of the
incumbent. We analyze the decision of the incumbent when facing
reelection and we characterize the conditions under which the advantages
that the incumbent obtains can overcome the disadvantages.
Finally, we use the results of this analysis to discuss some implications
of the use of mechanisms of direct democracy like referenda and
popular assemblies on electoral competition.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdinburgh School of Economics Discussion Paper Series
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

Publication series

NameESE Discussion Papers


  • incumbency advantage
  • referenda
  • popular initiatives
  • elections
  • D7
  • H1


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