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The Role of Majority Status in Close Election Studies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 April 2023

Matteo Alpino*
Structural Economic Analysis Directorate, Bank of Italy, Rome, Italy. E-mail:
Marta Crispino
Statistical Analysis Directorate, Bank of Italy, Rome, Italy. E-mail:
Corresponding author Matteo Alpino


Many studies exploit close elections in a regression discontinuity framework to identify partisan effects, that is, the effect of having a given party in office on some outcome. We argue that, when conducted on single-member districts, such design may identify a compound effect: the partisan effect, plus the majority status effect, that is, the effect of being represented by a member of the legislative majority. We provide a simple strategy to disentangle the two, and test it with simulations. Finally, we show the empirical relevance of this issue using real data.

© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Society for Political Methodology

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Edited by Jeff Gill


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