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Can Public and Private Sanctions Discipline Politicians? Evidence from the French Parliament

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  • Benjamin Monnery
  • Maxime Le Bihan

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of sanctions on the behavior of deputies in the French National Assembly. In 2009, the Assembly introduced small monetary sanctions to prevent absenteeism in weekly standing committee meetings (held on wednesday mornings). Using a rich monthly panel dataset of parliamentary activity for the full 2007-2012 legislature, we study the reactions of deputies to (i) the mere eligibility to new sanctions, (ii) the actual experience of a salary cut, and (iii) the public exposure of sanctioned deputies in the media. First, our diff-in-diff estimates show very large disciplining effects of the policy in terms of committee attendance, and positive or null effects on other dimensions of parliamentary work. Second, exploiting the timing of exposure to actual sanctions (monthly salary cuts versus staggered media exposure), we find that deputies strongly increase their committee attendance both after the private experience of sanctions and after their public exposure. These results suggest that monetary and reputational incentives can effectively discipline politicians without crowding out intrinsic motivation.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Monnery & Maxime Le Bihan, 2018. "Can Public and Private Sanctions Discipline Politicians? Evidence from the French Parliament," EconomiX Working Papers 2018-21, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
  • Handle: RePEc:drm:wpaper:2018-21
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    Cited by:

    1. Emeric Henry & Charles Louis-Sidois, 2018. "Voting and Contributing While the Group is Watching," Sciences Po publications 2018-11, Sciences Po.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political economy; political accoutability; sanctions; reputation; motivation;

    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
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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