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A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers

  • Daniel Diermeier
  • Michael Keane
  • Antonio Merlo

Our main goal is to quantify the returns to a career in the United States Congress. We specify a dynamic model of career decisions of a member of Congress and estimate this model using a newly collected dataset. Given estimates of the structural model, we assess reelection probabilities, estimate the effect of congressional experience on private and public sector wages, and quantify the value of a congressional seat. Moreover, we assess how an increase in the congressional wage or the imposition of term limits would affect the career decisions of politicians and the returns from a career in Congress.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/0002828053828464
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 95 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 347-373

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:1:p:347-373
Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828053828464
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  1. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 131-161, March.
  2. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-49, September.
  4. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  5. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1989. "The Specification and Estimation of Dynamic Stochastic Discrete Choice Models: A Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(4), pages 562-598.
  6. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  7. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," Discussion Papers 1387, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  9. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  10. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
  11. Tim Groseclose & Jeffrey Milyo, 1999. "Buying the Bums Out: What's the Dollar Value of a Seat in Congress?," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9923, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  12. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October.
  13. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," NBER Working Papers 4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281.
  15. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
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