Political competition and legislative shirking in roll-call votes: Evidence from Germany for 1953–2017 (2020)
We analyze the impact of elected competitors from the same constituency on legislative shirking in the German Bundestag from 1953 to 2017. The German electoral system ensures that there is always at least one federal legislator per constituency with a varying number of elected competitors from the same constituency from zero to four. We exploit the exogenous variation of elected competitors by investigating changes in competition induced by legislators who leave parliament during the legislative period and their respective replacement candidates in an instrumental variables setting with legislator fixed effects. The existence of elected competitors from the same constituency decreases absence rates in roll-call votes by about 6.1 percentage points, which corresponds to almost half of the mean absence rate in our sample. This effect is robust to the inclusion of other measures for political competition.
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Frank Marco, Stadelmann David