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Cabinets, Committees, and Careers: The Causal Effect of Committee Service

Cirone, Alexandra and Van Coppenolle, Brenda (2018) 'Cabinets, Committees, and Careers: The Causal Effect of Committee Service.' The Journal of Politics, 80 (3). 948 - 963. ISSN 0022-3816

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What is the value of committee service to an individual legislator? Self-selection and party control of appointments typically obscure this relationship. We estimate the causal effect of committee service on legislative behavior and parliamentary careers by exploiting a natural experiment in the French Third Republic (1870–1940). Yearly lotteries divided the legislature into groups that nominated members to the budget committee, and we use the random composition of these groups as an instrument for individual appointment. We find that appointment increased legislative entrepreneurship concerning budget legislation but not other types, suggesting that committee members acquire specialized expertise. Committee service also led to ministerial appointment but not to higher office that does not require specific policy expertise, such as party or senatorial positions. Finally, we discuss alternative mechanisms, including reputation effects, political networks, and distributional targeting via pork barrel legislation.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2019 13:41
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2019 13:41

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