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Quality of Politicians and Electoral System. Evidence from a Quasi-experimental Design for Italian Cities

Marco Alberto De Benedetto
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Marco Alberto De Benedetto: Birkbeck, University of London

No 1802, BCAM Working Papers from Birkbeck Centre for Applied Macroeconomics

Abstract: We study the effect of the electoral system on the quality of politicians, measured by the average educational attainment, at the local level in Italy over the period 1994-2017. Since 1993, municipalities below 15,000 inhabitants vote with a single-ballot system, whereas cities above 15,000 inhabitants threshold are subject to a double ballot.Exploiting the discontinuous policy change nearby the population cut-off we have implemented a RDD and found that runoff elections lead to a decrease in the educational attainment of local politicians by about 2% compared to years of schooling of politicians in municipalities voting with a single-ballot scheme.We speculate that the negative effect is driven by the different selection process of candidates adopted by political parties between runoff and single-ballot system. Findings are similar when we use alternative measures of quality of politicians related both to the previous occupation and to previous political experience, and when we control for different measures of political closeness.

JEL-codes: C31 D72 I20 J42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-eur, nep-pol and nep-ure
Date: 2018-10
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http://www.bbk.ac.uk/ems/research/BirkCAM/working-papers/BCAM1802.pdf First version, 2018 (application/pdf)

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