Relative Age Effects in Political Selection

45 Pages Posted: 30 May 2019

See all articles by Janne Tukiainen

Janne Tukiainen

VATT Institute for Economic Research; University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics

Tuomas Takalo

Bank of Finland, Monetary Policy and Research Department; VATT Institute for Economic Research

Topi Hulkkonen

StattFinn Ltd.

Date Written: July 9, 2018

Abstract

We exploit a regression discontinuity design to provide causal evidence of the relative age effect (RAE) on a long-run adult age outcome: Political selection. We find strong evidence of the RAE in politics in Finland. However, the effect is heterogeneous: We find that male candidates born early in the calendar year have a significantly higher probability of getting elected to the parliament but no similar RAE applies to female candidates nor to municipal elections. Moreover, this effect only takes place in the most competitive parliamentary districts and is present only for some parties. We also find that in all the groups where the RAE does not exist, early-born candidates are under-represented suggesting attrition of talent in the candidate placement. Overall, our results show that seemingly artificial cutoffs imposed by the government have persistent consequences even on the selection to the highest positions of power within a society.

Keywords: political selection, political competition, gender differences, regression discontinuity design, relative age effect

JEL Classification: C21, D72, J13, J16, J24

Suggested Citation

Tukiainen, Janne and Takalo, Tuomas and Hulkkonen, Topi, Relative Age Effects in Political Selection (July 9, 2018). Bank of Finland Research Discussion Paper No. 15/2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3396289

Janne Tukiainen (Contact Author)

VATT Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Arkadiankatu 7
P.O Box 1279
Helsinki, FIN-00101
Finland

University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Rehtorinpellonkatu 3
Turku, 20014
Finland

Tuomas Takalo

Bank of Finland, Monetary Policy and Research Department ( email )

P.O. Box 160
Helsinki, FIN-00101
Finland

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/tuomastakalo/

VATT Institute for Economic Research

Topi Hulkkonen

StattFinn Ltd. ( email )

Finland

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