No Kin In The Game: Moral Hazard and War in the U.S. Congress
We study agency frictions in the United States Congress. We examine the longstanding hypothesis that political elites engage in conflict because they fail to internalize the associated costs. We compare the voting behavior of legislators with draft age sons versus draft age daughters during the conscription-era wars of the 20th century. We estimate that having a draft age son reduces pro-conscription voting by 7-11 percentage points. Support for conscription recovers when a legislator’s son ages out of eligibility. We establish that agency problems contribute to political conflict and that politicians are influenced by private incentives orthogonal to political concerns or ideological preferences.
Eoin F. McGuirk & Nathaniel Hilger & Nicholas Miller, 2023. "No Kin in the Game: Moral Hazard and War in the US Congress," Journal of Political Economy, vol 131(9), pages 2370-2401.