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On the returns to holding political office (Is it worth it?)

Heléne Berg

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2020, vol. 178, issue C, 840-865

Abstract: The paper estimates causal effects of being elected in a local election on monetary returns. The claim for causality is made in a research design where the income of some candidate who just barely won a seat is compared to that of some other candidate who was close to winning a seat for the same party, but ultimately did not. This research design is made possible thanks to a comprehensive, detailed data set covering all Swedish politicians who have run for office in the period 1991–2006. The analysis establishes that monetary returns from local politics are absent both in the short and long run. By relating this null result to effects on the future political career, the paper provides suggestive evidence that local politicians are not primarily motivated by money.

Keywords: Returns to politics; Incumbency effects; Regression discontinuity design (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C23 D72 J44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2020.08.004

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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