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"Good Politicians": Experimental evidence on motivations for political candidacy and government performance

Gulzar, Saad and Khan, Muhammad Yasir (2021) "Good Politicians": Experimental evidence on motivations for political candidacy and government performance. Working Paper. UNSPECIFIED. (Submitted)

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How can we motivate ‘good’ politicians – those that will carry out policy that is responsive to citizens’ preferences – to enter politics? In a field experiment in Pakistan, we vary how political office is portrayed to ordinary citizens. We find that emphasizing pro-social motives for holding political office instead of personal returns – such as the ability to help others versus enhancing one’s own respect and status – raises the likelihood that individuals run for office and that voters elect them. It also better aligns subsequent policies with citizens’ preferences. The candidacy decisions are explained by social influence, and not information salience – we find that social versus personal messaging matters only when randomly delivered in a public setting but not in private. Results also show that changes in political supply, not citizen preferences or behavior, explain policy alignment. Taken together, the results demonstrate that non-financial motivations for political entry shape how politicians perform in office.


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Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Status: Submitted
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gulzar, Saad
Khan, Muhammad Yasirmyk17@pitt.edumyk17
Monograph Type: Working Paper
Date: 20 February 2021
Date Type: Submission
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Economics > Economics Working Papers
Refereed: No
Date Deposited: 06 May 2022 18:41
Last Modified: 06 May 2022 18:41


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