Do barriers to candidacy reduce political competition? Evidence from a bachelor’s degree requirement for legislators in Pakistan
- 263 Downloads
In the 2002 election, candidates for Pakistan’s federal legislature had to possess at least a bachelor’s degree. This policy disqualified 60 out of the 207 incumbent legislators from running for election again. Using a difference-in-differences approach with panel data on all electoral constituencies in Pakistan, I find that this ballot access restriction does not affect political competition across all constituencies with disqualified incumbents equally. Stronger political competition is defined as a larger number of candidates contesting election, a smaller vote share and vote margin for the winning candidate, and a less concentrated candidate field, as measured by a Herfindahl–Hirschman index (HHI) of vote shares. Competition declined significantly in constituencies where the disqualified incumbent belonged to a small party and where literacy levels were lower (signifying a smaller pool of substitute candidates). However, political competition increased in areas where the disqualified incumbent was stronger in terms of his winning vote margin.
KeywordsPolitical competition Barriers to candidacy Ballot access Legislators Elections Pakistan
I would like to thank the editors and three anonymous referees for their excellent comments and suggestions.
- Adams, J., & Merrill, S. (2006). Why small, centrist third parties motivate policy divergence by major parties. American Political Science Review, 50(3), 403–417. Google Scholar
- Bardhan, P., & Yang, T. (2004). Political competition in economic perspective. Berkeley: University of California Press. Department of Economics Working Paper No. E04-341. Google Scholar
- Bhatty, M. (2002). Positive electoral reforms. In The dawn newspaper—opinion. January 28. Google Scholar
- Drometer, M., & Rincke, J. (2008). The design of political institutions: electoral competition and the choice of ballot access restrictions in the United States. CESifo working paper No. 2406. Google Scholar
- Haven, P. (2002). Pakistan candidates must have degree. In The Washington post. October 7. Google Scholar
- Linden, L. (2005). Could have been a contender? The effects of limiting the number of candidates in Indian state parliamentary elections. Unpublished manuscript. Google Scholar
- Rae, D. (1971). The political consequences of electoral laws. New Haven: Yale University Press. Google Scholar
- Rehman, I. A. (2006). Polls and madrassah ‘sanads’. In The dawn newspaper—opinion. June 8 Google Scholar
- Tullock, G. (1965). Entry barriers in politics. The American Economic Review, 55(1), 458–466. Google Scholar