The Primary Effect: Preference Votes and Political Promotions
(English)In: American Political Science Review, ISSN 0003-0554, E-ISSN 1537-5943Article in journal (Refereed) In press
We analyze how electoral rules and outcomes shape the internal organization of political parties. Theoretically, we make an analogy with primary elections to argue that parties use preference-vote tallies to identify popular politicians and promote them to positions of power. Empirically, we document this behavior among parties in Sweden’s semi-open list system and in Brazil’s open-list system. To identify a causal impact of preference votes, we exploit a Regression Discontinuity Design around the threshold of winning the most preference votes on a party list. In our main case, Sweden, these narrow “primary winners” are at least 50% more likely to become local party leaders than their runners-up. Across individual politicians, the primary effect is present only for politicians who hold the first few positions on the list and when the preference vote winner and runner-up have similar competence levels. Across party groups, the primary effect is the strongest in unthreatened governing parties.
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-270988OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-270988DiVA: diva2:890973