Our main goal is to quantify the returns to a career in the United States Congress. We specify a dynamic model of career decisions of a member of Congress and estimate this model using a newly collected dataset. Given estimates of the structural model, we assess reelection probabilities, estimate the effect of congressional experience on private and public sector wages, and quantify the value of a congressional seat. Moreover, we assess how an increase in the congressional wage or the imposition of term limits would affect the career decisions of politicians and the returns from a career in Congress.
Diermeier, Daniel, Michael Keane and Antonio Merlo.
2005."A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers."American Economic Review,
95(1): 347-373.DOI: 10.1257/0002828053828464