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Friends in High Places

  • Lauren Cohen
  • Christopher Malloy
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    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
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    Publication status: published as “Friends in High Places” (with Christopher Malloy), 2013. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16437
    Note: AP CF POL
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2005. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Maternal Employment and Adolescent Development," NBER Working Papers 10691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. Seema Jayachandran, 2004. "The Jeffords Effect," UCLA Economics Online Papers 297, UCLA Department of Economics.
    5. Rohini Pande, 2002. "Can mandated political representation increase policy influence for disadvantaged minorities? Theory and evidence from India," Discussion Papers 0102-62, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
    6. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
    7. Lauren Cohen & Andrea Frazzini & Christopher Malloy, 2007. "The Small World of Investing: Board Connections and Mutual Fund Returns," NBER Working Papers 13121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Faccio, Mara & Parsley, David, 2006. "Sudden Deaths: Taking Stock of Political Connections," CEPR Discussion Papers 5460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Mara Faccio, 2006. "Politically Connected Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 369-386, March.
    11. Lauren Cohen & Andrea Frazzini & Christopher Malloy, 2010. "Sell-Side School Ties," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(4), pages 1409-1437, 08.
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