A Time to Make Laws and a Time to Fundraise? On the Relation between Salaries and Time Use for State Politicians

47 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2016

See all articles by Mitchell Hoffman

Mitchell Hoffman

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Elizabeth Lyons

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Date Written: August 2016

Abstract

Paying higher salaries is often believed to enhance worker effort, leading workers to work harder to avoid getting fired. However, workers may also respond to higher salaries by focusing on tasks that most directly affect getting fired (as opposed to those that contribute most to productivity). We explore these issues by analyzing the relationship between the level of compensation and time use for US state legislators. Using data on time use and legislator salaries, we show that higher salary is associated with legislators spending more time on fundraising. In contrast, higher salary is also associated with less time spent on legislative activities and has no clear relation to time spent on constituent services. Subgroup analysis broadly supports our interpretation of the data.

Suggested Citation

Hoffman, Mitchell and Lyons, Elizabeth, A Time to Make Laws and a Time to Fundraise? On the Relation between Salaries and Time Use for State Politicians (August 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22571. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2832575

Mitchell Hoffman (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Elizabeth Lyons

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

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