Political salaries, electoral selection and the incumbency advantage: Evidence from a wage reform Articles uri icon


  • Pertold, Filip

publication date

  • December 2021

start page

  • 1020

end page

  • 1047


  • 4


  • 49


  • Incumbents tend to gain solid electoral advantage in many voting systems. In this study, we examine the relationship between salaries prescribed to politicians and the incumbency advantage by exploiting a political wage reform and data from close elections in a proportional semi-open list system in the Czech Republic. We show that higher salaries reduce the average incumbency advantage, as they increase the probability to run again for previously non-elected candidates much more than for incumbents. Still, we find that higher wages improve candidate selection, especially by encouraging repeated candidacy from university-educated incumbents. Higher wages also improve relative positions of re-running incumbents on candidate lists compared to previously non-elected re-running candidates. Our results overall suggest that incumbency per se changes the relationship between political wages and candidate selection.


  • Economics


  • electoral selection; incumbency advantage; local elections; political salaries; regression discontinuity