We study the characteristics of self-selected candidates in corrupt
political systems. Individuals differ along two dimensions of unobservable
character: public spirit (altruism) and honesty (disutility
from selling out to special interests). Both aspects combine to determine
an individual's quality as governor. We characterize properties
of equilibrium candidate pools for arbitrary costs of running for
office, including when costs become vanishingly small. We explore
how policy instruments such as the governor's compensation and
anticorruption enforcement affect the expected quality of governance
through candidate self-selection. We show that self-selection can
have surprising implications for the effect of information disclosures
concerning candidates' backgrounds.
Bernheim, B. Douglas, and Navin Kartik.
"Candidates, Character, and Corruption."
American Economic Journal: Microeconomics,
Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law