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Friends in High Places

Listed author(s):
  • Lauren Cohen
  • Christopher Malloy

We demonstrate that personal connections amongst politicians have a significant impact on the voting behavior of U.S. politicians. Networks based on alumni connections between politicians, as well as common seat locations on the chamber floor, are consistent predictors of voting behavior. For the former, we estimate sharp measures that control for common characteristics of the network, as well as heterogeneous impacts of a common network characteristic across votes. For common seat locations, we identify a set of plausibly exogenously assigned seats (Freshman Senators), and find a strong impact of seat location networks on voting. We find that the effect of alumni networks is close to 60% of the size of the effect of state-level considerations. The network effects we identify are stronger for more tightly linked networks, and at times when votes are most valuable.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16437.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16437.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
Publication status: published as Cohen, Lauren, and Christopher J. Malloy. 2014. "Friends in High Places." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 6(3): 63-91.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16437
Note: AP CF POL
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  1. Lauren Cohen & Andrea Frazzini & Christopher Malloy, 2010. "Sell-Side School Ties," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(4), pages 1409-1437, 08.
  2. Lauren Cohen & Andrea Frazzini & Christopher Malloy, 2008. "The Small World of Investing: Board Connections and Mutual Fund Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(5), pages 951-979, October.
  3. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2008. "Maternal employment and adolescent development," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 958-983, October.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1019-1055.
  5. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
  6. Jayachandran, Seema, 2006. "The Jeffords Effect," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 397-425, October.
  7. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2005. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. MARA FACCIO & RONALD W. MASULIS & JOHN J. McCONNELL, 2006. "Political Connections and Corporate Bailouts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(6), pages 2597-2635, December.
  9. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mara Faccio, 2006. "Politically Connected Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 369-386, March.
  11. Faccio, Mara & Parsley, David, 2006. "Sudden Deaths: Taking Stock of Political Connections," CEPR Discussion Papers 5460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
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