Navin Kartik

Columbia University

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Institutional Affiliation: Columbia University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2010Candidates, Character, and Corruption
with B. Douglas Bernheim: w16530
We study the characteristics of self-selected candidates in corrupt political systems. Potential candidates differ along two dimensions of unobservable character: public spirit (altruism toward others) and honesty (the disutility suffered when selling out to special interests after securing office). Both aspects combine to determine an individual's quality as governor. We characterize properties of equilibrium candidate pools for arbitrary costs of running for office, including the case where those costs become vanishingly small. We explore how policy instruments such as the governor's compensation and anti-corruption enforcement affect the expected quality of governance through candidate self-selection. We also show that self-selection can have surprising implications for the effect of in...

Published: B. Douglas Bernheim & Navin Kartik, 2014. "Candidates, Character, and Corruption," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 205-46, May. citation courtesy of

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