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Moonlighting Politicians: Motivation Matters!

  • Alessandro Fedele


    (Free University of Bolzano‐Bozen, School of Economics and Management.)

  • Paolo Naticchioni


    (University of Cassino and Southern Lazio)

In this paper we study optimal choices of self-selection into politics and commitment once in office of citizens with heterogeneous ability and heterogeneous motivation. Politicians can moonlight, i.e., they can work in the market sector while appointed in parliament. Our theoretical framework shows that high-ability citizens might enter politics. Yet while high-ability non-motivated (market-fit) politicians are likely to shirk, high-ability motivated (public-fit) ones are more committed to the parliamentary activity. We test our predictions by using a unique database of Italian parliamentarians for the period 1996-2006. We show that both market-fit and public-fit parliamentarians are positively selected from the Italian population. We also find that commitment of the market-fit parliamentarians in terms of voting attendance is negatively affected by income opportunities, whilst this is not the case for public-fit ones.

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Paper provided by School of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen in its series BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series with number BEMPS08.

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Length: [35 pages]
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bzn:wpaper:bemps08
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  1. Ernesto Dal Bó & Frederico Finan & Martín Rossi, 2012. "Strengthening State Capabilities: The Role of Financial Incentives in the Call to Public Service," NBER Working Papers 18156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tim Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and incentives with motivated agents," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 928, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Andrea Brandolini, 1999. "The Distribution of Personal Income in Post-War Italy: Source Description, Data Quality, and the Time Pattern of Income Inequality," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 350, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Thomas Braendle & Alois Stutzer, 2013. "Political selection of public servants and parliamentary oversight," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 45-76, February.
  5. Besley, Timothy & Folke, Olle & Persson, Torsten & Rickne, Johanna, 2013. "Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man: Theory and Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 985, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2003. "Signaling and Screening of Workers' motivation," CESifo Working Paper Series 1099, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Becker, Johannes & Peichl, Andreas & Rincke, Johannes, 2008. "Politicians' Outside Earnings and Electoral Competition," Discussion Papers in Economics 2206, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Klaas Beniers & Robert Dur, 2007. "Politicians’ motivation, political culture, and electoral competition," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 29-54, February.
  9. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2008. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 3411, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Gagliarducci, Stefano & Nannicini, Tommaso & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2010. "Moonlighting politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 688-699, October.
  11. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli, 2000. "Bad politicians," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 134, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
  13. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2008. "Managerial Talent, Motivation, and Self-Selection into Public Management," CESifo Working Paper Series 2437, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Heyes, Anthony, 2005. "The economics of vocation or 'why is a badly paid nurse a good nurse'?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 561-569, May.
  15. Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2007. "Political Careers or Career Politicians?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6164, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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