Economics at your fingertips  

Who Becomes a Politican?

Ernesto Dal Bó, Frederico Finan (), Olle Folke, Torsten Persson () and Johanna Rickne ()

No 1133, Working Paper Series from Research Institute of Industrial Economics

Abstract: Can a democracy attract competent leaders, while attaining broad representation? Economic models suggest that free-riding incentives and lower opportunity costs give the less competent a comparative advantage at entering political life. Also, if elites have more human capital, selecting on competence may lead to uneven representation. We examine patterns of political selection among the universe of municipal politicians in Sweden using extraordinarily rich data on competence traits and social background for the entire population. We document four new facts: First, politicians are on average signi cantly smarter and better leaders than the population they represent. Second, the representation of social background, whether measured by intergenerational earnings or social class, is remarkably even. Third, there is at best a weak tradeo in selection between competence and representation. Fourth, both material and intrinsic motives matter in selection, as does screening by political parties.

Keywords: Political Selection; Political Representation; Family Background; Competence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H10 H70 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 58 pages
Date: 2016-09-15
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol and nep-soc
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Who Becomes A Politician? (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Who Becomes a Politician? (2017) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Paper Series from Research Institute of Industrial Economics Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Elisabeth Gustafsson ().

Page updated 2023-09-22
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:1133