Discussion paper

DP17047 Electoral Turnovers

In most national elections, voters face a key choice between continuity and change. Electoral turnovers occur when the incumbent candidate or party fails to win reelection. To understand how turnovers affect national outcomes, we study all presidential and parliamentary elections held globally between 1946 and 2018. We document the prevalence of turnovers over time and estimate their effects on economic performance, human development, and the quality of democracy. Using a close-elections regression discontinuity design across countries, we show that turnovers improve country performance, especially in settings with weaker constraints on the executive. To explain these positive effects, we explore how electoral turnovers shape policy decisions, affect leader characteristics, reduce perceived corruption, and foster accountability.


Marx, B, V Pons and V Rollet (2022), ‘DP17047 Electoral Turnovers‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 17047. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17047