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Electoral competition and political selection: An analysis of the activity of French deputies, 1958–2012

Nicolas Gavoille () and Marijn Verschelde ()

European Economic Review, 2017, vol. 92, issue C, 180-195

Abstract: In this paper, we study the relation between electoral competition and political selection, using a unique dataset containing detailed yearly information about members of the French National Assembly from 1958 to 2012. First, we innovate by proposing a measure of deputy activity to obtain insight into political selection. As we gathered information on the many aspects of deputies' individual work, we use a nonparametric composite indicator of deputy activity that fully acknowledges the multidimensional nature of parliamentary work. We argue that this measure of activity is positively correlated with competence and intrinsic motivation, two components of politicians' quality. Second, we exploit the large time span of our dataset to study the evolution of the relationship between electoral competition and political selection over time. Overall, our results show that deputies elected in a priori contested districts have a higher overall activity, with the intensity of this relationship reaching its peak in the 80's but constantly decreasing since then.

Keywords: Competition; Election; Political selection; French parliament (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 J45 C14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Working Paper: Electoral competition and political selection: An analysis of the activity of French deputies, 1958–2012 (2017)
Working Paper: Electoral competition and political selection: An analysis of the activity of French deputies, 1958-2012 (2016) Downloads
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