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Do Politicians Shirk when Reelection Is Certain? Evidence from the German Parliament

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  • Bernecker, Andreas

Abstract

Does stiffer electoral competition reduce political rent-seeking behavior? For a microanalysis of this question, I construct a new data set spanning the years 2005 to 2012 covering biographical and political information of German members of parliament (MPs) and including attendance rates in voting sessions for the first time. For the parliament elected in 2009, I show that indeed MPs who expect to face a close race in their district show significantly and relevantly lower absence rates in parliament beforehand. MPs of governing parties seem to react less to electoral competition. These results are confirmed by an analysis of the parliament elected in 2005, by several robustness checks, and also by employing an instrumental variable strategy exploiting convenient peculiarities of the German electoral system. This study is also the first to analyze how MPs elected via party lists react to different levels of electoral competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernecker, Andreas, 2013. "Do Politicians Shirk when Reelection Is Certain? Evidence from the German Parliament," Working Papers 13-09, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mnh:wpaper:33372
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    File URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/33372/1/Bernecker_13-09.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Arnold, Felix & Kauder, Björn & Potrafke, Niklas, 2014. "Outside earnings, absence, and activity: Evidence from German parliamentarians," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 147-157.
    2. Felix Arnold, 2013. "German MPs' Outside Jobs and Their Repercussions on Parliamentary Effort," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1340, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Accountability ; Political Competition ; Quality of Politicians ; Rent-Seeking ; Absences;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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