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Competing on Good Politicians

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  • Vincenzo Galasso
  • Tommaso Nannicini

Abstract

Is electoral competition good for political selection? To address this issue, we introduce a theoretical model where ideological parties select and allocate high-valence (experts) and lowvalence (party loyalists) candidates into electoral districts. Voters care about a national policy (e.g., party ideology) and the valence of their district’s candidates. High-valence candidates are more costly for the parties to recruit. We show that parties compete by selecting and allocating good politicians to the most contestable districts. Empirical evidence on Italian members of parliament confirms this prediction: politicians with higher ex-ante quality, measured by years of schooling, previous market income, and local government experience, are more likely to run in contestable districts. Indeed, despite being different on average, politicians belonging to opposite political coalitions converge to high-quality levels in close electoral races. Furthermore, politicians elected in contestable districts make fewer absences in parliament, due to a selection effect more than to reelection incentives.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 368.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:368

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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
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Thomas Braendle & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Political Selection of Public Servants and Parliamentary Oversight," Working papers 2010/08, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  4. Thomas Braendle & Alois Stutzer, 2011. "Selection of Public Servants into Politics," Working papers 2011/06, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  5. Thomas Braendle, 2013. "Do Institutions Affect Citizens' Selection into Politics?," Working papers 2013/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  6. Audinga Baltrunaite & Piera Bello & Alessandra Casarico & Paola Profeta, 2012. "Gender Quotas and the Quality of Politicians," CESifo Working Paper Series 3734, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  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. 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.
  12. Bordignon, Massimo & Monticini, Andrea, 2012. "The importance of the electoral rule: Evidence from Italy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 322-325.
  13. Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "Political competition and politician quality: evidence from Italian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 547-559, September.

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