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Reputational capital, opportunism, and self-policing in legislatures

  • Glenn Parker
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    This paper examines the question of whether reputational capital can deter opportunistic behavior among legislators preparing to exit the House of Representatives. I create a measure of reputational trustworthiness, based upon pooled samples of constituency opinion derived from the National Election Studies surveys. I then examine the extent to which such reputational good will among constituents deters lame-duck foreign travel by exiting House incumbents within the context of a quasi-experimental research design. The analysis suggests that legislators may be ‘self-policed’ by their reputations for honesty and trustworthiness to the point of discouraging unethical activity. urveys. I then examine the extent to which such s derived from the National Election Studies Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-005-5733-0
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

    Volume (Year): 122 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 3 (March)
    Pages: 333-354

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:122:y:2005:i:3:p:333-354
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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    1. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    2. Telser, L G, 1980. "A Theory of Self-enforcing Agreements," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 27-44, January.
    3. Kau, James B & Rubin, Paul H, 1979. "Self-Interest, Ideology, and Logrolling in Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 365-84, October.
    4. Nelson, Phillip, 1976. "Political Information," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 315-36, August.
    5. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
    6. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
    7. Lott, John R, Jr & Davis, Michael L, 1992. " A Critical Review and an Extension of the Political Shirking Literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(4), pages 461-84, December.
    8. Dougan, William R & Munger, Michael C, 1989. "The Rationality of Ideology," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 119-42, April.
    9. Figlio, David N, 2000. " Political Shirking, Opponent Quality, and Electoral Support," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 271-84, June.
    10. Crain, W Mark & Leavens, Donald R & Tollison, Robert D, 1986. "Final Voting in Legislatures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 833-41, September.
    11. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    12. Parker, Glenn R & Powers, Stephen C, 2002. " Searching for Symptoms of Political Shirking: Congressional Foreign Travel," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 110(1-2), pages 173-91, January.
    13. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Agency Problems and Residual Claims," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 327-49, June.
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