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The impact of political leaders' profession and education on reforms

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  • Dreher, Axel
  • Lamla, Michael J.
  • Lein, Sarah M.
  • Somogyi, Frank

Abstract

This paper analyzes whether the educational and professional background of a head of government matters for the implementation of market-liberalizing reforms. Employing panel data over the period 1970-2002, we present empirical evidence based on a novel data set covering profession and education of more than 500 political leaders from 72 countries. Our results show that reforms are more likely during the tenure of former entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs belonging to a left-wing party are more successful in inducing reforms than a member of a right-wing party with the same previous profession. Former professional scientists also promote reforms, the more so, the longer they stay in office. The impact of politicians' education is not robust and depends on the method of estimation. Journal of Comparative Economics 37 (1) (2009) 169-193.

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  • Dreher, Axel & Lamla, Michael J. & Lein, Sarah M. & Somogyi, Frank, 2009. "The impact of political leaders' profession and education on reforms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 169-193, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:37:y:2009:i:1:p:169-193
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    Keywords

    Reforms Economic policy Economic freedom Leadership;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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