Money, Political Ambition, and the Career Decisions of Politicians
In this paper we assess the impact of a variety of policies that may influence the career decisions of members of the U.S. Congress, using the empirical framework of Diermeier, Keane and Merlo (2005). These policies alter incentives to run for re-election, run for higher office or leave Congress, by altering wages, nonpecuniary rewards and career prospects (both in and out of Congress). We find that reducing the relative wage of politicians would substantially reduce the duration of congressional careers. Notably, however, the effect varies considerably across different types of politicians. A reduction in the congressional wage would disproportionately induce exit from Congress by “skilled” politicians, Democrats, politicians who were relatively young when first elected, and those without pre-congressional political experience. Interestingly, however, it would not cause the type of politicians who most value legislative accomplishments (“achievers”) to disproportionately exit Congress. Thus, wage reductions would not reduce the “quality” composition of Congress in this sense. Term limits also have similar effects on achievers and non-achievers. However, we find that term limits would disproportionately induce members of the majority party to exit Congress. This has the interesting implication that term limits make it more difficult to sustain substantial congressional majorities over time. We do find three types of policies that disproportionately induce nonachievers to leave Congress: (i) elimination of seniority as a determinant of key committee assignments, (ii) restricting private sector employment after leaving Congress, and (iii) reducing the seniority advantage in elections.
|Date of creation:||01 May 2007|
|Date of revision:|
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Web page: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/pier
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- Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2005.
"Political Careers or Career Politicians?,"
PIER Working Paper Archive
05-032, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2005.
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- Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2007. "Political Careers or Career Politicians?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6164, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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2006-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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NBER Working Papers
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"A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers,"
PIER Working Paper Archive
04-037, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Sep 2004.
- 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.
- 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.
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- 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.
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