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Electoral competition and political selection: An analysis of the activity of French deputies, 1958–2012


  • Nicolas Gavoille
  • Marijn Verschelde

    (LEM - Lille économie management - LEM - UMR 9221 - Université de Lille - UCL - Université catholique de Lille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


In this paper, we study the relation between electoral competition and political selection, using a unique dataset containing detailed yearly information about members of the French National Assembly from 1958 to 2012. First, we innovate by proposing a measure of deputy activity to obtain insight into political selection. As we gathered information on the many aspects of deputies' individual work, we use a nonparametric composite indicator of deputy activity that fully acknowledges the multidimensional nature of parliamentary work. We argue that this measure of activity is positively correlated with competence and intrinsic motivation, two components of politicians' quality. Second, we exploit the large time span of our dataset to study the evolution of the relationship between electoral competition and political selection over time. Overall, our results show that deputies elected in a priori contested districts have a higher overall activity, with the intensity of this relationship reaching its peak in the 80's but constantly decreasing since then.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01745350
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2016.12.003
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

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    Cited by:

    1. Gavoille, Nicolas, 2018. "Who are the ‘ghost’ MPs? Evidence from the French parliament," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 134-148.
    2. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke, 2019. "Conservative Politicians and Voting on Same‐sex Marriage," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 20(4), pages 600-617, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General


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