Panel Paper: A Few Signatures Matter: Barriers to Entry in Italian Local Politics

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Madison A - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Santiago Perez Vincent, Università Bocconi

Requiring people to collect signatures to run for public office is currently used in many democracies as a barrier to entry for potential candidates. These signature requirements are meant to screen out frivolous candidates and simplify voters' choice. This paper examines the causal effect of these signature requirements on electoral and policy outcomes. I use data on Italian local elections and apply a regression discontinuity design (RDD) to estimate the effect of these requirements on electoral competition, candidates' selection and voters' participation. I find that signature requirements significantly alter the local political landscape: they reduce the number of candidates, decrease electoral competition, lead to a more experienced pool of candidates, and reduce voter turnout.

Full Paper: