IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nwu/cmsems/1387.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel Diermeier
  • Michael Keane
  • Antonio Merlo

Abstract

Theories in political economy depend critically on assumptions about motivations of politicians. Our analysis starts from the premise that politicians, like other economic agents, are rational individuals who make career decisions by comparing the expected returns of alternative choices. The main goal of the paper is to quantify the returns to a career in the United States Congress. To achieve this goal we specify a dynamic model of career decisions of a member of Congress and we estimate this model using a newly collected data set. Given estimates of the structural model, we assess reelection probabilities for members of Congress, estimate the effect of congressional experience on private and public sector wages, and quantify the value of a congressional seat. Moreover, we use the estimated model to assess how an increase in the congressional wage or the imposition of term limits would affect the career decisions of politicians and the returns to a career in Congress.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," Discussion Papers 1387, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1387
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1387.pdf
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
    2. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 347-373, March.
    3. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October.
    4. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 131-161, March.
    5. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1995. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 769-798.
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    7. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96.
    8. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
    9. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-1149, September.
    10. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
    11. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281-281.
    12. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1989. "The Specification and Estimation of Dynamic Stochastic Discrete Choice Models: A Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(4), pages 562-598.
    13. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
    14. Tim Groseclose & Jeffrey Milyo, 1999. "Buying the Bums Out: What's the Dollar Value of a Seat in Congress?," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9923, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    15. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Whither Political Economy? Theories, Facts and Issues," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2005.
    2. Braendle, Thomas, 2013. "Do Institutions Affect Citizens' Selection into Politics?," Working papers 2013/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    3. Keane, Michael P. & Todd, Petra E. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 2011. "The Structural Estimation of Behavioral Models: Discrete Choice Dynamic Programming Methods and Applications," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 4, pages 331-461, Elsevier.
    4. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2008. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 3411, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Leonardo Felli & Antonio Merlo, 2006. "Endogenous Lobbying," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 180-215, March.
    6. César Martinelli & John Duggan, 2014. "The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 1403, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    7. Juan Carlos Berganza, 2000. "Politicians, voters and electoral processes: an overview," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 24(3), pages 501-543, September.
    8. Zakharov Alexei, 2005. "Candidate location and endogenous valence," EERC Working Paper Series 05-17e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
    9. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers: Supplementary Materiel," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-038, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    10. Hill, Andrew J. & Jones, Daniel B., 2017. "Does partisan affiliation impact the distribution of spending? Evidence from state governments’ expenditures on education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 58-77.
    11. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2009. "Empirical Applications of Discrete Choice Dynamic Programming Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, January.
    12. Leonardo Felli & Antonio M. Merlo, 2000. "Endogenous Lobbying," CESifo Working Paper Series 291, CESifo.
    13. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 2002. "Political economics and public finance," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 24, pages 1549-1659, Elsevier.
    14. Juan Carlos Berganza, 1998. "Relationships Between Politicians and Voters Through Elections: A Review Essay," Working Papers wp1998_9809, CEMFI.
    15. Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2008. "Political careers or career politicians?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 597-608, April.
    16. Galasso, Vincenzo & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2011. "Competing on Good Politicians," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 79-99, February.
    17. Caselli, Francesco & Morelli, Massimo, 2004. "Bad politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 759-782, March.
    18. Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2015. "Mediocracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 32-44.
    19. Benoît Le Maux, 2009. "Governmental behavior in representative democracy: a synthesis of the theoretical literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 447-465, December.
    20. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Sebastian Siegloch, 2013. "The politicians’ wage gap: insights from German members of parliament," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 653-676, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1387. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cmnwuus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Fran Walker The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Fran Walker to update the entry or send us the correct address (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cmnwuus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.