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Money, Political Ambition, and the Career Decisions of Politicians

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  • Michael P. Keane
  • Antonio Merlo

Abstract

We assess the impact of a variety of policies that may influence the career decisions of members of the US Congress. These policies alter incentives to run for re-election, run for higher office or leave Congress, by altering wages, non-pecuniary rewards and career prospects (both in and out of Congress). We find that the effect of most policies varies considerably across different types of politicians. For example, a reduction in the congressional wage would disproportionately induce exit from Congress by "skilled" politicians, Democrats, and politicians who were relatively young when first elected, but not by politicians who most value legislative accomplishments ("achievers"). (JEL D72)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mic.2.3.186
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 186-215

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:186-215

Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.2.3.186
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  1. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2002. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-037, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Sep 2004.
  2. Antonio Merlo & Andrea Mattozzi, 2005. "Political Careers or Career Politicians?," 2005 Meeting Papers 740, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Ernesto Dal Bo & Pedro Dal Bo & Jason Snyder, . "Political Dynasties," Working Papers 2006-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  4. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli, 2001. "Bad Politicians," NBER Working Papers 8532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2003. "Paying Politicians," Working Papers 246, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Whither Political Economy? Theories, Facts and Issues," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2005.
  7. Tim Groseclose & Jeffrey Milyo, 1999. "Buying the Bums Out: What's the Dollar Value of a Seat in Congress?," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9923, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
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