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The Control of Politicians in Normal Times and Times of Crisis: Wealth Accumulation by U.S. Congressmen, 1850-1880

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  • Pablo Querubin
  • James M. Snyder, Jr.

Abstract

We employ a regression discontinuity design based on close elections to estimate the rents from a seat in the U.S. congress between 1850-1880. Using census data, we compare wealth accumulation among those who won or lost their first race by a small margin. We find evidence of significant returns for the first half of the 1860s, during the Civil War, but not for other periods. We hypothesize that increased opportunities from the sudden spike in government spending during the war and the decrease in control by the media and other monitors might have made it easier for incumbent congressmen to collect rents.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17634.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Publication status: published as Snyder JM, Querubin P. The Control of Politicians in Normal Times and Times of Crisis: Wealth Accumulation by U.S. Congressmen, 1850-1880 . :40Quarterly Journal of Political Science. 2013;8(4)9-450.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17634

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Cited by:
  1. Della Vigna, Stefano & Durante, Ruben & Knight, Brian & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2014. "Market-based Lobbying: Evidence from Advertising Spending in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 9813, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Kaisa Kotakorpi & Panu Poutvaara & Marko Tervio, 2013. "Returns to office in national and local politics," Discussion Papers, Aboa Centre for Economics 86, Aboa Centre for Economics.

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