Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Member

Dr. Patrick L. Warren, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Scott Barkowski

Committee Member

Dr. Robert K. Fleck


Recent studies of electoral accountability show that in countries like India, Brazil and some Eastern European countries incumbents face a disadvantage compared to their challengers. These results are in contrast to evidence from the US and other western democracies where incumbents enjoy a significant advantage. In order to examine this difference in the effects of incumbency status we analyze the Indian parliamentary elections between 1998 and 2014. We use Regression Discontinuity (RD) Design to study how being an incumbent affects the contestants' margin of victory and probability of winning in a reelection. The results from the study show that incumbents faced a consistent disadvantage over the five elections even though the level of disadvantage varied over these elections.