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Businessman Candidates

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  • Gehlbach, Scott
  • Sonin, Konstantin
  • Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina

Abstract

In immature democracies, businessmen run for public office to gain direct control over policy; in mature democracies they typically rely on other means of influence. We develop a simple model to show that businessmen run for office only when two conditions hold. First, as in many immature democracies, institutions that make reneging on campaign promises costly must be poorly developed. In such environments, office holders have monopoly power that can be used to extract rents, and businessmen run to capture those rents. Second, the returns to businessmen from policy influence must not be too large, as otherwise high rents from holding office draw professional politicians into the race, crowding out businessmen candidates. Analysis of data on Russian gubernatorial elections supports these predictions. Businessman candidates are less likely 1) in regions with high media freedom and government transparency, institutions that raise the cost of reneging on campaign promises, and 2) in regions where returns to policy influence (measured by regional resource abundance) are large, but only where media are unfree and government nontransparent.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5985.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5985

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Keywords: businessman candidates; government transparency; immature democracy; media freedom; political connections; strength of political parties;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Thomas Braendle, 2013. "Do Institutions Affect Citizens' Selection into Politics?," Working papers 2013/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  2. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Vijayendra Rao, 2005. "Political Selection and the Quality ofGovernment: Evidence from South India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 44, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. Pande, Rohini, 2007. "Understanding Political Corruption in Low Income Countries," Working Paper Series rwp07-020, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Ulrich Matter & Alois Stutzer, 2013. "Do Lawyer-Legislators Protect Their Business? Evidence from Voting Behavior on Tort Reforms," Working papers 2013/09, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  5. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & López-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2009. "Disclosure by Politicians," CEPR Discussion Papers 7168, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Gagliarducci, Stefano & Nannicini, Tommaso & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2008. "Outside Income and Moral Hazard: The Elusive Quest for Good Politicians," IZA Discussion Papers 3295, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Evgeny Yakovlev & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2007. "Deregulation of Business," Working Papers w0097, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  8. C. Simon Fan & Chen Lin & Daniel Treisman, 2010. "Embezzlement Versus Bribery," NBER Working Papers 16542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
  10. Beate R. Jochimsen & Sebastian Thomasius, 2012. "The Perfect Finance Minister: Whom to Appoint as Finance Minister to Balance the Budget?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1188, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  11. Rohini Pande & Timothy Besley & Vijayendra Rao, 2005. "Political Selection and the Quality of Evidence: Evidence form South India," Working Papers id:261, eSocialSciences.
  12. Timothy Besley & Jose G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal‐Querol, 2011. "Do Educated Leaders Matter?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(554), pages F205-, 08.
  13. Serguey Braguinsky, 2009. "Postcommunist Oligarchs in Russia: Quantitative Analysis," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(2), pages 307-349, 05.
  14. Thomas Braendle & Alois Stutzer, 2011. "Selection of Public Servants into Politics," Working papers 2011/06, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.

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