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Can Public and Private Sanctions Discipline Politicians? Evidence from the French Parliament

Benjamin Monnery () and Maxime Le Bihan

No 2018-21, EconomiX Working Papers from University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX

Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of sanctions on the behavior of deputies in the French National Assembly. In 2009, the Assembly introduced small monetary sanctions to prevent absenteeism in weekly standing committee meetings (held on wednesday mornings). Using a rich monthly panel dataset of parliamentary activity for the full 2007-2012 legislature, we study the reactions of deputies to (i) the mere eligibility to new sanctions, (ii) the actual experience of a salary cut, and (iii) the public exposure of sanctioned deputies in the media. First, our diff-in-diff estimates show very large disciplining effects of the policy in terms of committee attendance, and positive or null effects on other dimensions of parliamentary work. Second, exploiting the timing of exposure to actual sanctions (monthly salary cuts versus staggered media exposure), we find that deputies strongly increase their committee attendance both after the private experience of sanctions and after their public exposure. These results suggest that monetary and reputational incentives can effectively discipline politicians without crowding out intrinsic motivation.

Keywords: political economy; political accoutability; sanctions; reputation; motivation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D78 J45 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-law, nep-lma and nep-pol
Date: 2018
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