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Reputational Dynamics and Political Careers

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  • Scott Ashworth

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Ashworth, 2005. "Reputational Dynamics and Political Careers," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 441-466, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:21:y:2005:i:2:p:441-466
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ewi015
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ward, George, 2015. "Is happiness a predictor of election results?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 61698, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Hans Gersbach, 2015. "History-bound Reelections," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 15/225, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    3. Samuel Berlinski & Torun Dewan & Keith Dowding, 2007. "Individual and Collective Performance and the Tenureof British Ministers 1945-1997," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 25, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    4. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Luis R. Cámara Fuertes & Rainer Schwabe, 2016. "Monitoring Corruptible Politicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(8), pages 2371-2405, August.
    5. Bruns, Christian & Himmler, Oliver, 2016. "Mass media, instrumental information, and electoral accountability," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 75-84.
    6. César Martinelli & John Duggan, 2014. "The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 1403, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    7. Landa, Dimitri & Le Bihan, Patrick, 2015. "Policy Unbundling and Special Interest Politics," IAST Working Papers 15-32, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    8. Gersbach, Hans, 2007. "Vote-share Contracts and Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 6497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Egorov, Georgy & Sonin, Konstantin, 2014. "Incumbency Advantage in Non-Democracies," CEPR Discussion Papers 10178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. George Ward, 2015. "Is Happiness a Predictor of Election Results?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1343, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    11. Aytimur, R. Emre & Bruns, Christian, 2015. "On ignorant voters and busy politicians," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 252, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    12. John Patty & Roberto Weber, 2007. "Letting the good times roll: A theory of voter inference and experimental evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 293-310, March.
    13. Markus Müller, 2009. "Vote-Share Contracts and Learning-by-Doing," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 09/114, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    14. Bruns, Christian & Himmler, Oliver, 2014. "A Theory of Political Accountability and Journalism," MPRA Paper 59286, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Tsai, Tsung-Sheng, 2009. "The evaluation of majority rules in a legislative bargaining model," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 674-684, December.
    16. Duha T. Altindag & Naci Mocan, 2015. "Mobile Politicians: Opportunistic Career Moves and Moral Hazard," NBER Working Papers 21438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. John Duggan & Cesar Martinelli, 2015. "Electoral Accountability and Responsive Democracy," Working Papers 1057, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    18. Bueno de Mesquita, Ethan & Landa, Dimitri, 2015. "Political accountability and sequential policymaking," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 95-108.
    19. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:7:p:1824-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Konstantin Sonin & Georgy Egorov, 2011. "Incumbency Advantage in Nondemocratic Elections," 2011 Meeting Papers 417, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    21. Christopher R. Berry & Jacob E. Gersen, 2009. "Fiscal Consequences of Electoral Institutions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 469-495, August.
    22. Fowler, Anthony & Hall, Andrew B., 2015. "Congressional seniority and pork: A pig fat myth?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 42-56.

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