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Political Selection and the Relative Age Effect

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  • Daniel Muller
  • Lionel Page
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    Abstract

    We present substantial evidence for the existence of a bias in the distribution of births of leading US politicians in favor of those who were the eldest in their cohort at school. The result is robust to both parametric and nonparametric tests and is not driven by measurement error, redshirting or a sorting effect of highly educated parents. The magnitude of the effect we estimate is larger than what other studies on 'relative age effects' find for broader (adult) populations, but is in general consistent with research that looks at high-competition environments. The findings are in line with a multiplier effect of early human capital acquisition (Cunha and Heckman, 2007) whereby early skill accumulation lowers the cost of further investments.

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    File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/QuBEWorkingPapers/2013/RAE.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by QUT Business School in its series QuBE Working Papers with number 009.

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    Date of creation: 18 Apr 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:qut:qubewp:wp009

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    Web page: http://www.qut.edu.au/research/research-projects/queensland-behavioural-economics-group-qube

    Related research

    Keywords: relative age effect; political selection; regression discontinuity design; school entry cut-off dates; leadership;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

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    1. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2009. "Political Selection and Persistence of Bad Governments," NBER Working Papers 15230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Billari, Francesco C. & Pellizzari, Michele, 2008. "The Younger, the Better? Relative Age Effects at University," IZA Discussion Papers 3795, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "Political competition and politician quality: evidence from Italian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 547-559, September.
    5. Brollo, Fernanda & Nannicini, Tommaso & Perotti, Roberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2010. "The Political Resource Curse," IZA Discussion Papers 4706, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Evans, William N. & Morrill, Melinda S. & Parente, Stephen T., 2010. "Measuring inappropriate medical diagnosis and treatment in survey data: The case of ADHD among school-age children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 657-673, September.
    7. Imbens, Guido W. & Kalyanaraman, Karthik, 2009. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," IZA Discussion Papers 3995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
    9. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2006. "The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1437-1472, November.
    10. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 11331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    12. Dhuey, Elizabeth & Lipscomb, Stephen, 2008. "What makes a leader? Relative age and high school leadership," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 173-183, April.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Age, luck & unearned privilege
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-05-01 13:23:22

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