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Abandon ship. Party brands and politicians responses to a political scandal

How do politicians react to a political earthquake? In this article, we study politicians’ re- sponses to the main political scandal in Italian recent history (“Clean Hands”), and overcome endogeneity concerns by analysing the local implications of this national corruption scan- dal. We find that local politicians withdraw support for incumbents in parties hit by Clean Hands – inducing early government terminations in such municipalities. Moreover, politi- cians in parties hit by the scandal exhibit higher rates of party switching and lower re-running rates. By decreasing the value of the party “brand”, scandals thus become transmitted across politicians and levels of government via partisan cues.

Daniele, G., Galletta, S. and Geys, B., 2018. Abandon ship? Party brands and politicians’ responses to a political scandal.