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Do politicians shirk when reelection is certain? Evidence from the German parliament

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  • Bernecker, Andreas

Abstract

Does stiffer electoral competition reduce political shirking? For a micro-analysis of this question, I construct a new data set spanning the years 2005 to 2012 covering biographical and political information about German Members of Parliament (MPs), including their attendance rates in voting sessions. For the parliament elected in 2009, I show that indeed opposition party MPs who expect to face a close race in their district show significantly and relevantly lower absence rates in parliament beforehand. MPs of governing parties seem not to react significantly to electoral competition. These results are confirmed by an analysis of the parliament elected in 2005, by several robustness checks, and also by employing an instrumental variable strategy exploiting convenient peculiarities of the German electoral system. The study also shows how MPs elected via party lists react to different levels of electoral competition.

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  • Bernecker, Andreas, 2014. "Do politicians shirk when reelection is certain? Evidence from the German parliament," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 55-70.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:36:y:2014:i:c:p:55-70
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2014.07.001
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    Cited by:

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    3. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke, 2015. "Supermajorities and Political Rent Extraction," CESifo Working Paper Series 5512, CESifo.
    4. Gavoille, Nicolas, 2018. "Who are the ‘ghost’ MPs? Evidence from the French parliament," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 134-148.
    5. Born, Andreas & Janssen, Aljoscha, 2020. "Does a District-Vote Matter for the Behavior of Politicians? A Textual Analysis of Parliamentary Speeches," Working Paper Series 1320, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke & Marina Riem, 2017. "Do Parties Punish MPs for Voting Against the Party Line?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(3), pages 317-332.
    7. Alexander Fink, 2017. "Donations to Political Parties: Investing Corporations and Consuming Individuals?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 220-255, May.
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    9. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke, 2016. "Supermajorities and Political Rent Extraction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 65-81, February.
    10. Hofer. Katharina, 2016. "Shirk or Work? On How Legislators React to Monitoring," Economics Working Paper Series 1616, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Accountability; Political competition; Quality of politicians; Shirking; Absences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare

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