Do Individual Disclosure Rules for Parliamentarians Improve Government Effectiveness?

26 Pages Posted: 19 May 2009 Last revised: 18 Jul 2014

See all articles by Anne van Aaken

Anne van Aaken

University of Hamburg, Law School; Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Stefan Voigt

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: May 18, 2009

Abstract

The pros and cons of stricter disclosure rules for parliamentarians are hotly debated. Some argue that disclosure rules for parliamentarians increase transparency of the legislative branch, leading to lower levels of rent-seeking and corruption, increased citizen trust in parliament, and better quality of law-making. Others argue that disclosure rules endanger the privacy of parliamentarians, that their introduction would stop businesspeople and lawyers from running for seats, which would decrease the quality of law-making. This is the first attempt to empirically test these conjectures on the composition of parliament empirically. We find that the introduction of disclosure rules is usually not accompanied by a significant shift in the proportion of lawyers and businesspeople in parliament (direct effect). In general, we did not find significant effects on rent-seeking and trust and, when we did, individual disclosure rules were correlated with worse, rather than better, governance quality. However, individual disclosure rules do seem to curb government deficits, at least marginally (indirect effects).

Keywords: Political Financing, Money in Politics, Transparency and Disclosure, Socioeconomic composition of Parliament, Individual Disclosure Rules, Legislative Codes of Conduct

JEL Classification: D02, D72, K19, K49, Z13

Suggested Citation

van Aaken, Anne and Voigt, Stefan, Do Individual Disclosure Rules for Parliamentarians Improve Government Effectiveness? (May 18, 2009). U. of St. Gallen Law & Economics Working Paper No. 2009-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1406409 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1406409

Anne Van Aaken (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg, Law School ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany

Stefan Voigt

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany
+49-40-428385782 (Phone)
+49-40-428386794 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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