NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Inger Munk

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Working Papers

January 2012Labor Supply of Politicians
with Raymond Fisman, Nikolaj A. Harmon, Emir Kamenica: w17726
We examine the labor supply of politicians using data on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). We exploit the introduction of a law that equalized MEPs' salaries, which had previously differed by as much as a factor of ten. Doubling an MEP's salary increases the probability of running for reelection by 23 percentage points and increases the logarithm of the number of parties that field a candidate by 29 percent of a standard deviation. A salary increase has no discernible impact on absenteeism or shirking from legislative sessions; in contrast, non-pecuniary motives, proxied by home-country corruption, substantially impact the intensive margin of labor supply. Finally, an increase in salary lowers the quality of elected MEPs, measured by the selectivity of their undergraduate institut...

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