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Reputational Dynamics and Political Careers

  • Scott Ashworth
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    I study a model of repeated elections with both symmetric learning about candidate ability and moral hazard. In this model, candidates choose how to allocate their resources between constituency service and policy work. Early in their careers, they devote excessive time to constituency service in an attempt to manipulate voter learning. Since voters use elections to select better candidates, incumbents become more confident of reelection over time and reduce the distortion in their effort allocations. I embed the basic model in a common agency framework to study seniority norms in legislative organization. The model organizes many of the stylized facts about elections and congressional organization, including retrospective voting, the incumbency advantage, the dynamics of effort allocation over a career, the importance of constituency service, and seniority norms in committee assignments. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 2 (October)
    Pages: 441-466

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:21:y:2005:i:2:p:441-466
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