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American Economic Journal: Microeconomics: Vol. 2 No. 3 (August 2010)

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Money, Political Ambition, and the Career Decisions of Politicians

Article Citation

Keane, Michael P., and Antonio Merlo. 2010. "Money, Political Ambition, and the Career Decisions of Politicians." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 2(3): 186-215.

DOI: 10.1257/mic.2.3.186

Abstract

We assess the impact of a variety of policies that may influence the career decisions of members of the US Congress. These policies alter incentives to run for re-election, run for higher office or leave Congress, by altering wages, non-pecuniary rewards and career prospects (both in and out of Congress). We find that the effect of most policies varies considerably across different types of politicians. For example, a reduction in the congressional wage would disproportionately induce exit from Congress by "skilled" politicians, Democrats, and politicians who were relatively young when first elected, but not by politicians who most value legislative accomplishments ("achievers"). (JEL D72)

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Authors

Keane, Michael P. (U Technology Sydney)
Merlo, Antonio (U PA)

JEL Classifications

D72: Models of Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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