Peter M. Aronow, David R. Mayhew and Winston Lin (2014). A Note on Close Elections and Regression Analysis of the Party Incumbency Advantage. Statistics, Politics, and Policy 5(1-2): 1–11. DOI 10.1515/spp-2014-0003
Much research has recently been devoted to understanding the effects of party incumbency following close elections, typically using a regression discontinuity design. Researchers have demonstrated that close elections in the US House of Representatives may systematically favor certain types of candidates, and that a research design that focuses on close elections may therefore be inappropriate for estimation of the incumbency advantage. We demonstrate that any issues raised with the study of close elections may be equally applicable to the ordinary least squares analysis of electoral data, even when the sample contains all elections. When vote share is included as part of a covariate control strategy, the estimate produced by an ordinary least squares regression that includes all elections either exactly reproduces or approximates the regression discontinuity estimate.
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