The Runner-Up Effect
Exploiting regression discontinuity designs in Brazilian, Indian, and Canadian first-past-the-post elections, we document that second-place candidates are substantially more likely than close third-place candidates to run in, and win, subsequent elections. Since both candidates lost the election and had similar electoral performance, this is the effect of being labeled the runner-up. Selection into candidacy is unlikely to explain the effect on winning subsequent elections, and we find no effect of finishing in third place versus fourth place. We develop a simple model of strategic coordination by voters that rationalizes the results and provides further predictions that are supported by the data.