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The Primary Effect: Preference Votes and Political Promotions
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
IIES, Stockholm University.
Research Institute for Industrial Economics.
(English)In: American Political Science Review, ISSN 0003-0554, E-ISSN 1537-5943Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

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.

National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-270988OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-270988DiVA: diva2:890973
Available from: 2016-01-05 Created: 2016-01-05 Last updated: 2016-01-05

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Folke, Olle
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