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Political Selection and the Relative Age Effect

  • Daniel Muller
  • Lionel Page

We present substantial evidence for the existence of a bias in the distribution of births of leading US politicians in favor of those who were the eldest in their cohort at school. The result is robust to both parametric and nonparametric tests and is not driven by measurement error, redshirting or a sorting effect of highly educated parents. The magnitude of the effect we estimate is larger than what other studies on 'relative age effects' find for broader (adult) populations, but is in general consistent with research that looks at high-competition environments. The findings are in line with a multiplier effect of early human capital acquisition (Cunha and Heckman, 2007) whereby early skill accumulation lowers the cost of further investments.

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File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/QuBEWorkingPapers/2013/RAE.pdf
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Paper provided by QUT Business School in its series QuBE Working Papers with number 009.

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Date of creation: 18 Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:qut:qubewp:wp009
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.qut.edu.au/research/research-projects/queensland-behavioural-economics-group-qube

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  1. Brollo, Fernanda & Nannicini, Tommaso & Perotti, Roberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2010. "The Political Resource Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 7672, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  3. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  4. Imbens, Guido W. & Kalyanaraman, Karthik, 2009. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," IZA Discussion Papers 3995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2010. "Political Selection and Persistence of Bad Governments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1511-1575.
  6. Dhuey, Elizabeth & Lipscomb, Stephen, 2008. "What makes a leader? Relative age and high school leadership," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 173-183, April.
  7. Evans, William N. & Morrill, Melinda S. & Parente, Stephen T., 2010. "Measuring inappropriate medical diagnosis and treatment in survey data: The case of ADHD among school-age children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 657-673, September.
  8. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864.
  9. Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "Political competition and politician quality: evidence from Italian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 547-559, September.
  10. Billari, Francesco C. & Pellizzari, Michele, 2008. "The Younger, the Better? Relative Age Effects at University," IZA Discussion Papers 3795, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2006. "The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1437-1472.
  12. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  13. Dobkin, Carlos & Ferreira, Fernando, 2010. "Do school entry laws affect educational attainment and labor market outcomes?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 40-54, February.
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