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Relative age effects in political selection

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  • Tukiainen, Janne
  • Takalo, Tuomas
  • Hulkkonen, Topi

Abstract

We exploit a regression discontinuity design to provide causal evidence of the relative age effect (RAE) on a long-run adult age outcome: Political selection. We find strong evidence of the RAE in politics in Finland. However, the effect is heterogeneous: We find that male candidates born early in the calendar year have a significantly higher probability of getting elected to the parliament but no similar RAE applies to female candidates nor to municipal elections. Moreover, this effect only takes place in the most competitive parliamentary districts and is present only for some parties. We also find that in all the groups where the RAE does not exist, early-born candidates are under-represented suggesting attrition of talent in the candidate placement. Overall, our results show that seemingly artificial cutoffs imposed by the government have persistent consequences even on the selection to the highest positions of power within a society.

Suggested Citation

  • Tukiainen, Janne & Takalo, Tuomas & Hulkkonen, Topi, 2019. "Relative age effects in political selection," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 50-63.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:58:y:2019:i:c:p:50-63
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2018.10.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Lyytikäinen, Teemu & Tukiainen, Janne, 2019. "Are voters rational?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 230-242.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political selection; Political competition; Gender differences; Regression discontinuity design; Relative age effect;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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