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Competing on Good Politicians

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  • Galasso, Vincenzo
  • Nannicini, Tommaso

Abstract

Is electoral competition good for political selection? To address this issue, we introduce a theoretical model in which ideological parties select candidates between party loyalists and experts, and allocate them into the electoral districts. Non-ideological voters, who care about national and local policies, strongly prefer experts. We show that parties compete on good politicians by allocating them to the most contestable districts. Empirical evidence on Italian members of parliament confirms this prediction. We find that politicians with higher ex-ante quality - as measured by years of schooling, previous market income, and local government experience - are more likely to run in a contestable district. Indeed, despite being different on average, the characteristics of politicians belonging to opposite parties converge to high-quality levels in close races. Furthermore, politicians elected in contestable districts make fewer absences in parliament; this is shown to be driven more by a selection effect than by reelection incentives.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7363.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7363

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Keywords: political competition; political selection; probabilistic voting;

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Competition is key to getting good politicians
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-08-31 14:54:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Veronica Grembi & Tommaso Nannicini & Ugo Troiano, 2012. "Policy Responses to Fiscal Restraints: A Difference-in-Discontinuities Design," CESifo Working Paper Series 3999, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Thomas Braendle, 2013. "Do Institutions Affect Citizens' Selection into Politics?," Working papers 2013/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  3. Massimo Bordignon & Andrea Monticini, 2011. "The Importance of the Electoral Rule: Evidence from Italy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3347, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Audinga Baltrunaite & Piera Bello & Alessandra Casarico & Paola Profeta, 2013. "Gender quotas and the quality of politicians," Working Papers 2013-11, FEDEA.
  5. Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "Political competition and politician quality: evidence from Italian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 547-559, September.
  6. Folke, Olle & Rickne, Johanna, 2012. "Female representation but male rule? Party competition and the political glass ceiling," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2012:9, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  7. Thomas Braendle & Alois Stutzer, 2013. "Political selection of public servants and parliamentary oversight," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 45-76, February.
  8. Thomas Braendle & Alois Stutzer, 2011. "Selection of Public Servants into Politics," Working papers 2011/06, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  9. Francesco Lagona & Antonello Maruotti & Fabio Padovano, 2012. "The opposite Cycles of Laws and Decrees," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2012-01-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
  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. Bernecker, Andreas, 2013. "Do Politicians Shirk when Reelection Is Certain? Evidence from the German Parliament," Working Papers 13-09, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  12. Ronny Freier & Sebastian Thomasius, 2012. "Voters Prefer More Qualified Mayors, but Does It Matter for Public Finances?: Evidence for Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1262, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  13. Massimo Bordignon & Andrea Monticini, 2011. "The importance of electoral rule: Evidence from Italy," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0099, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).

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