How does competition affect the entry and selection of politicians? I use data on U.S. Congressional primary and general elections for the years 1998-2014 to study this question. I measure quality using previous legislative experience and the novel “identity match” quantifying how well candidates demographically represent their district. To identify causal effects, I rely on variation in competition caused by demographic changes resulting from decennial redistricting. Difference-in-difference estimates reveal differences between the electorally dominant and weak party. They show that experienced candidates avoid competition in primary elections in the strong party. As opposed to this, experienced candidates and candidates with a good identity match run relatively more frequently in primary elections in the weak party as competition increases. The effects of competition and entry overall cancel each other out so that there are no effects on the quality and identity match of the eventual winner of the general election.
Favoritism towards high-status clubs: Evidence from German soccer (joint with Eberhard Feess and Helge Müller)(R&R at the Journal of Law, Economics & Organization, Draft - March 2021)
Biases in legal decision making are difficult to identify as type II errors (wrongful acquittals) are hardly observable and because type I errors (wrongful convictions) are only observed for the subsample of subsequently exonerated convicts. The advantage of our data on the first German soccer league is that it allows us to classify each referee decision accurately as correct, type I error or type II error. The potential bias we are interested in is favoritism towards clubs with higher long-term status, proxied by the ranking in the all-time table at the beginning of each session and by membership. Higher status clubs benefit largely from fewer type II errors. By contrast, the actual strength of clubs captured by the inverse of odds as well as by other proxies has no impact on referee decisions. We find no difference in type I errors and suggest anticipation of the bias as a potential explanation for the difference. We investigate several mechanisms potentially underlying our results; including career concerns and social pressure.
Work in progress
How does trust in government affect violence and hate targeting politicians?
Recent years have seen a sharp rise in violence and hate targeting politicians. In this project I ask about the drivers of this trend, focussing on newly collected data on violence targeting politicians as well as on trust using German tweets.