Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/229250
Authors: 
Banerjee, Prasenjit
Iversen, Vegard
Mitra, Sandip
Nicolò, Antonio
Sen, Kunal
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
WIDER Working Paper No. 2020/26
Abstract: 
What motivates individuals to become politicians? This is an important question in decentralized democracies, where local politicians play a key role in public goods provision. However, and in emerging economies, bureaucratic hurdles and administrative failures introduce uncertainty about the returns to a politician's effort towards public goods provision. This paper presents a theoretical enquiry of political selection in the presence of such uncertainty. When individuals differ in their concern for reputation, our model predicts that politicians' effort is increasing in their reputation concern. With uncertainty about the public goods production (and thus reputational) returns to politician effort, our model also predicts that reputation-concerned individuals are more reluctant to join politics than those who worry less about their perceived moral stature. Using data from lab-in-the-field experiments in rural India with local politicians and non-politician participants, we find support for the main predictions of our model.
Subjects: 
politicians
experiments
intrinsic motivation
reputation
India
JEL: 
H11
D64
O12
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
ISBN: 
978-92-9256-783-5
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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