Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Local Elections and the Politics of Small-Scale Democracy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

J. Eric Oliver, Shang E. Ha, and Zachary Callen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691143552

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691143552.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 22 October 2018

Systematic versus Idiosyncratic Factors in Local Elections

Systematic versus Idiosyncratic Factors in Local Elections

(p.116) Chapter 4 Systematic versus Idiosyncratic Factors in Local Elections
Local Elections and the Politics of Small-Scale Democracy

J. Eric Oliver

Shang E. Ha

Zachary Callen

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the systematic factors behind local electoral results. Looking at data from over 7,000 different municipalities over a twenty-year time period, it appears that local elections are a curious mixture of the predictable and the idiosyncratic. They are predictable in that the majority of incumbents for local office either run unopposed or win reelection if they face challengers. This is consistent with the idea of managerial democracy: elections for local office should hinge on issues of custodial performance, and because incumbents get reelected at high rates, most are probably doing their jobs well enough to satisfy enough constituents or to dissuade any opponents. Identifying those instances when incumbents are likely to lose, however, turns out to be a very difficult task. Of the few identifiable trends, it appears that incumbent city council members are more likely to lose in places that are larger in size, greater in scope, and higher in bias. But the ability to predict the likelihood that any given incumbent is likely to lose, even when we know most political and social characteristics of a place, remains small.

Keywords:   local elections, election results, municipal government, managerial democracy, custodial performance, city council members, incumbent

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.