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Political competition and politician quality: evidence from Italian municipalities

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  • Maria Paola

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  • Vincenzo Scoppa

Abstract

In this paper, using data from Italian local level governments for the years 1985- 2008, we investigate whether political competition affects the quality of elected politicians, as measured by using some ex-ante characteristics such as educational level and type of job held. We handle endogeneity problems through an instrumental variable approach using a variable which takes into account whether the previous legislature survived until the end of its legislative term as an instrument for political competition. Early termination increases political competition, without directly affecting the quality of candidates. Two Stage Least Square estimates support the assumption that political competition positively affects politician quality. Results are robust to different measures of political competition and to different specifications of the model.
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Suggested Citation

  • Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "Political competition and politician quality: evidence from Italian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 547-559, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:148:y:2011:i:3:p:547-559
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-010-9683-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Folke, Olle & Rickne, Johanna, 2014. "The Glass Ceiling in Politics: Formalization and Empirical Tests," Working Paper Series 1034, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    2. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Sebastian Siegloch, 2013. "The politicians’ wage gap: insights from German members of parliament," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 653-676, September.
    3. Brezis, Elise S., 2017. "Legal conflicts of interest of the revolving door," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 175-188.
    4. Jochimsen, Beate & Thomasius, Sebastian, 2014. "The perfect finance minister: Whom to appoint as finance minister to balance the budget," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 390-408.
    5. Barone, Guglielmo & de Blasio, Guido, 2013. "Electoral rules and voter turnout," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 25-35.
    6. Julio Alberto Ramos-Pastrana, 2017. "Who's Getting the Office? Autocracy And Elected Politicians' Career Path: Evidence from the Mexican States," Caepr Working Papers 2017-008 Classification-D, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    7. Antonio Accetturo, 2014. "Political selection in the skilled city," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 956, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    8. Nicolas Gavoille, 2017. "Who are the ‘ghost’ MPs? Evidence from the French Parliament," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2017-03-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
    9. Gavoille, Nicolas & Verschelde, Marijn, 2017. "Electoral competition and political selection: An analysis of the activity of French deputies, 1958–2012," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 180-195.
    10. Ronny Freier & Sebastian Thomasius, 2016. "Voters prefer more qualified mayors, but does it matter for public finances? Evidence for Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(5), pages 875-910, October.
    11. Nishith Prakash & Marc Rockmore & Yogesh Uppal, 2014. "Do Criminally Accused Politicians Affect Economic Outcomes? Evidence from India," HiCN Working Papers 192, Households in Conflict Network.
    12. Daniel Muller & Lionel Page, 2013. "Political Selection and the Relative Age Effect," QuBE Working Papers 009, QUT Business School.
    13. Amrita Dillon & GANI ALDASHEV, 2015. "Voter Turnout and Political Rents," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 17(4), pages 528-552, August.
    14. Gianmarco Daniele, 2015. "Strike one to educate one hundred: organized crime, political selection and politicians’ ability," Working Papers 2015/37, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    15. De Benedetto, Marco Alberto & De Paola, Maria, 2014. "Candidates' Quality and Electoral Participation: Evidence from Italian Municipal Elections," IZA Discussion Papers 8102, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Hyytinen, Ari & Meriläinen, Jaakko & Saarimaa, Tuukka & Toivanen, Otto & Tukiainen, Janne, 2018. "Public Employees as Politicians: Evidence from Close Elections," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 112(01), pages 68-81, February.
    17. De Benedetto, Marco Alberto & De Paola, Maria, 2013. "The Impact of Incumbency on Turnout: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," IZA Discussion Papers 7612, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Nicolas Gavoille & Marijn Verschelde, 2017. "Electoral competition and political selection: An analysis of the activity of French deputies, 1958–2012," Post-Print hal-01745350, HAL.
    19. repec:spr:ecogov:v:18:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10101-016-0188-y is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Daniel Muller & Lionel Page, 2016. "Born leaders: political selection and the relative age effect in the US Congress," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(3), pages 809-829, June.
    21. Meriläinen, Jaakko & Tukiainen, Janne, 2016. "Primary Effect in Open-List Elections," Working Papers 79, VATT Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political competition; Politicians; Political selection; D72; D78; J45;

    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
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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