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Competing on Good Politicians

Vincenzo Galasso and Tommaso Nannicini

No 4282, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Is electoral competition good for political selection? To address this issue, we introduce a theoretical model in which ideological parties select candidates between party loyalists and experts, and allocate them into the electoral districts. Non-ideological voters, who care about national and local policies, strongly prefer experts. We show that parties compete on good politicians by allocating them to the most contestable districts. Empirical evidence on Italian members of parliament confirms this prediction. We find that politicians with higher ex-ante quality ? as measured by years of schooling, previous market income, and local government experience ? are more likely to run in a contestable district. Indeed, despite being different on average, the characteristics of politicians belonging to opposite parties converge to high-quality levels in close races. Furthermore, politicians elected in contestable districts make fewer absences in parliament; this is shown to be driven more by a selection effect than by reelection incentives.

Keywords: probabilistic voting; political selection; political competition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 45 pages
Date: 2009-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-mic and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (9) Track citations by RSS feed

Published - published in: American Political Science Review, 2011, 105 (1), 79-99

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Journal Article: Competing on Good Politicians (2011) Downloads
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Working Paper: Competing on Good Politicians (2009) Downloads
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