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Political Careers or Career Politicians?

  • Andrea Mattozzi


    (Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology)

  • Antonio Merlo


    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Two main career paths are prevalent among politicians in modern democracies: there are career politicians (i.e., politicians who work in the political sector until retirement), and political careers (i.e., there are politicians who leave politics before retirement and work in the private sector). In this paper, we propose a dynamic equilibrium model of the careers of politicians in a political economy with a private sector and a political sector, where individuals are heterogeneous with respect to their market ability and political skills. We characterize the conditions under which the two career paths emerge in equilibrium, and investigate the effects of monetary incentives and other features of the political-economic environment on the quality of politicians and their careers. Our analysis also provides a rationale for the existence and the survival of political parties.

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Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 05-032.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jul 2005
Date of revision: 01 Dec 2005
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:05-032
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  30. Echenique, Federico & Edlin, Aaron S., 2004. "Mixed equilibria are unstable in games of strategic complements," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt1ht651hk, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  31. Michael P. Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "Money, Political Ambition, and the Career Decisions of Politicians," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-016, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
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  33. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
  34. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Political Careers or Career Politicians? Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-009, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 07 Feb 2007.
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