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Labor Supply of Politicians

  • Raymond Fisman
  • Nikolaj A. Harmon
  • Emir Kamenica
  • Inger Munk

We examine the labor supply of politicians using data on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). We exploit the introduction of a law that equalized MEPs' salaries, which had previously differed by as much as a factor of ten. Doubling an MEP's salary increases the probability of running for reelection by 23 percentage points and increases the logarithm of the number of parties that field a candidate by 29 percent of a standard deviation. A salary increase has no discernible impact on absenteeism or shirking from legislative sessions; in contrast, non-pecuniary motives, proxied by home-country corruption, substantially impact the intensive margin of labor supply. Finally, an increase in salary lowers the quality of elected MEPs, measured by the selectivity of their undergraduate institutions.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17726.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17726.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17726
Note: LS POL
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  1. Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2007. "Political Careers or Career Politicians?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6164, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Kotakorpi, Kaisa & Poutvaara, Panu, 2009. "Pay for Politicians and Candidate Selection: An Empirical Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 4235, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Panu Poutvaara & Tuomas Takalo, 2004. "Candidate Quality," Public Economics 0406009, EconWPA.
  4. Abdul Ghafar Noury & Simon Hix & Gérard Roland, 2007. "Democratic politics in the European Parliament," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7744, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Naci Mocan & Duha T. Altindag, 2011. "Is Leisure a Normal Good? Evidence from the European Parliament," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1120, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  6. Messner, Matthias & Polborn, Mattias K., 2004. "Paying politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2423-2445, December.
    • Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2003. "Paying Politicians," Working Papers 246, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  7. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2009. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," NBER Working Papers 14906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gagliarducci, Stefano & Nannicini, Tommaso & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2010. "Moonlighting politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 688-699, October.
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