A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers

American Economic Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The American Economic Review, 2005, 95 (1), pp. 347 - 373
Issue Date:
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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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