Who Runs? Honesty and Self-Selection into Politics

50 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2016

See all articles by Sebastian Fehrler

Sebastian Fehrler

IZA; University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics; University of Zurich, Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS)

Urs Fischbacher

University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics

Maik T. Schneider

University of Bath

Abstract

We examine the incentives to self-select into politics and how they depend on the transparency of the entry process. To this end, we set up a two-stage political competition model and test its key mechanisms in the lab. At the entry stage, potential candidates compete in a contest to become their party's nominee. At the election stage, the nominated candidates campaign by making non-binding promises to voters. Confirming the model's key predictions, we find in the experiment that dishonest people over-proportionally self-select into the political race; and that this adverse selection effect can be prevented if the entry stage is made transparent to voters.

Keywords: candidates, elections, campaigns, primaries, contest, voting, political economy, experiment, lying aversion, self-selection, cheap talk

JEL Classification: C92, D71, D83

Suggested Citation

Fehrler, Sebastian and Fischbacher, Urs and Schneider, Maik T., Who Runs? Honesty and Self-Selection into Politics. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10258. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2849743

Sebastian Fehrler (Contact Author)

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 10
78457 Konstanz
Germany

University of Zurich, Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS) ( email )

Affolternstrasse 56
8050 Zurich
Switzerland

Urs Fischbacher

University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 10
78457 Konstanz
Germany

Maik T. Schneider

University of Bath ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

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