DP84 Using name standardisation to track candidate and MP performance over time in Papua New Guinea

Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 84

By Thomas Wangi and Terence Wood

October 2019

This paper makes use of data from the Papua New Guinea Election Results Database. It draws on an exercise in which we standardised the spelling of candidate names to allow for intertemporal analysis. Our central research questions included: whether the share of more experienced MPs in Papua New Guinea’s parliament has increased; whether MPs who have been in power longer are more or less likely to be re-elected than newer MPs; whether the typical first-time winner in the 2012 and 2017 elections had a long history of previous candidacies; and whether women candidates perform better over time if they stand in multiple elections. We found no trend of increasing MP experience. We found third term MPs were less likely to be re-elected than first and second term, but fourth-term MPs were more likely to be re-elected. We found that, typically, winners in 2012 and 2017 had not stood many times prior to victory. And we found that female candidates tend to perform worse on average the more times they stand, although there is considerable variation amongst different candidates.

Wangi, T. & Wood, T. 2019, ‘Using name standardisation to track candidate and MP performance over time in Papua New Guinea’, Discussion Paper No. 84, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra.

Thomas Wangi

Thomas Wangi is a PhD candidate in economics at Crawford School of Public Policy and a Research Fellow at the PNG National Research Institute. He holds a Master of Economics from James Cook University.

Terence Wood

Terence Wood is a Fellow at the Development Policy Centre. His research focuses on political governance in Western Melanesia, and Australian and New Zealand aid.