Political (Self-)Selection and Competition: Evidence from U.S. Congressional Elections
Skill and experience of policy makers matters greatly for policy choices. How incentives influence the selection and quality of politicians has consequently been studied carefully. In this paper I focus on entry of politicians following changes in electoral competition. I consider two dimensions of quality, experience and "brand names''. These arguably differ in their relation to the costs of running and theoretical predictions depend on costs and the electoral strength of the candidate's party (Dal Bó and Finan, 2018). Using data for primary elections to the U.S. House I distinguish between effects of competition for candidates in the electorally strong and weak party. I measure competition with demographic changes to districts due to redistricting. Using a continuous treatment difference-in-difference approach I show that reactions to increased competition differ between the strong and weak party and depend on how quality relates to costs of running. While experienced candidates in the strong party shy away from competition, the opposite holds for the weaker party. There is no effect of competition on the entry of candidates with a name brand advantage.