The runner-up effect

Santosh Anagol, Thomas Fujiwara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Exploiting regression discontinuity designs in Brazilian, Indian, and Canadian first-past-the-post elections, we document that second-place candidates are substantially more likely than close third-place candidates to run in, and win, subsequent elections. Since both candidates lost the election and had similar electoral performance, this is the effect of being labeled the runner-up. Selection into candidacy is unlikely to explain the effect on winning subsequent elections, and we find no effect of finishing in third place versus fourth place. We develop a simple model of strategic coordination by voters that rationalizes the results and provides further predictions that are supported by the data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-991
Number of pages65
JournalJournal of Political Economy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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