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    Polarization and political selection

    Yu, Tinghua and Ash, E. (2021) Polarization and political selection. Working Paper. Birkbeck Centre for Applied Macroeconomics, London, UK.

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    Does political polarization among voters affect the quality of elected officials? We examine the question both theoretically and empirically in the context where expertise and intrinsic motivation are crucial determinants of the quality. In our model, high quality candidates prefer to spend time on their current careers over electoral campaigning. In a polarized electorate, however, voters cast their votes mainly based on candidates’ party affiliations, reducing electoral campaign effort in equilibrium. Hence under higher polarization among voters, higher quality candidates are more likely to run for high office and to get elected. Our testable prediction is that electorates with higher polarization select candidates who perform better. We take the predictions to data on judges’ performance constructed from the opinions of all state supreme court judges working between 1965 and 1994. We find that judges who joined the court when polarization was high write higher-quality decisions (receiving more citations from other judges) than judges who joined when polarization was low.


    Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
    Additional Information: BCAM Working Paper #2105. ISSN: 1745-8587
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Applied Macroeconomics, Birkbeck Centre for
    Depositing User: Isobel Edwards
    Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2021 15:33
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:08


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