Progress and Perspectives in the Study of Political Selection

45 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2018

See all articles by Ernesto Dal Bo

Ernesto Dal Bo

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business - Business and Public Policy

Frederico Finan

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

We provide a model of self-selection by candidates in a probabilistic voting environment to shed light on the forces shaping the quality of politicians from both the supply and demand sides of politics. The model highlights that the patterns of selection and the comparative statics of politician quality depend critically on how the costs of running for office vary for candidates with different qualities. The model offers predictions on how the quality of the political class will vary with key parameters pertaining to both the supply and demand for candidates. We use the model to frame a review of the empirical literature on political selection that has emerged in the last two decades. We contrast areas where significant progress has been made with others where important theoretical predictions remain untested or existing evidence does not allow a consensus, highlighting areas for future research.

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Suggested Citation

Dal Bo, Ernesto and Finan, Frederico, Progress and Perspectives in the Study of Political Selection (June 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24783. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3210437

Ernesto Dal Bo (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business - Business and Public Policy ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Frederico Finan

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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