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A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers

Daniel Diermeier, Michael Keane and Antonio Merlo
The American Economic Review
Vol. 95, No. 1 (Mar., 2005), pp. 347-373
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4132683
Page Count: 27
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A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers
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Abstract

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.

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