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The Labor Market of Italian Politicians

Author

Listed:
  • Antonio Merlo

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Vincenzo Galasso

    () (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research, Universita Bocconi)

  • Massimiliano Landi

    () (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)

  • Andrea Mattozzi

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

Abstract

Like voters (the represented), politicians (the representees) are the heart and soul of representative democracy. But isnt being a politician just like any other job? After we get past the rhetoric, is politics any different than other occupations? In the political sector, voters, parties and politicians represent the counterparts of consumers, firms and workers/managers in the market sector. In fact, the analogy is much deeper than it may appear at first sight. In the market sector, consumers determine to a large extent the success of a firm and ultimately the managements fate. However, managers are chosen by the firms, which typically have an objective that is different from those of consumers and managers. Likewise, while in all democratic systems the voters ultimately determine who is elected, it is typically the case that political parties nominate candidates for public office. Furthermore, the objectives of voters and parties with respect to the selection of candidates may differ, and are constrained by the career ambitions of individuals with political aspirations. But then, what really makes a career in the political sector different from a career in any other economic sector? There are at least three distinctive features that characterize the labor market in the political sector. First, politicians are typically under the spotlight, receiving the attention of the media and of a variety of citizens organizations. This makes politics a showcase, where politicians in office can display their political skills, while it might be more difficult for individuals working in the market sector to reveal their market ability. Second, inter-party competition for potential politicians is likely to be of secondary importance, as ideological preferences are more likely to attract individuals toward specific parties at the beginning of their political careers. Third, it is often the case that political parties take care of their losers by reserving partys positions to defea
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio Merlo & Vincenzo Galasso & Massimiliano Landi & Andrea Mattozzi, 2008. "The Labor Market of Italian Politicians," Working Papers 15-2008, Singapore Management University, School of Economics, revised Oct 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:15-2008
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    File URL: https://mercury.smu.edu.sg/rsrchpubupload/13448/Italian_politicians.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2008. "Political careers or career politicians?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 597-608.
    2. 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.
    3. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini & Paolo Naticchioni, 2007. "Outside Income and Moral Hazard: The Elusive Quest for Good Politicians," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-164, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    4. Bartolini, S. & D'Alimonte, R., 1995. "Plurality Competition and Party realignment in Italy: The 1994 Parliamentary Elections," Papers 95/7, European Institute - Political and Social Sciences.
    5. Michael P. Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2010. "Money, Political Ambition, and the Career Decisions of Politicians," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, pages 186-215.
    6. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • J49 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Other

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