The Marketability of Political Skills
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Readers will quickly notice that references to the author throughout the book are written in the plural, although but a single name appears on the title page. My wife, Professor Suzanne L. Parker, played an instrumental role in this inquiry but refused to...
Chapter 1 Introduction
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As the subtitle suggests, this book concerns the marketability of political skills, where marketability refers to the speed and ease with which securities can be sold and securities represent instruments...
Chapter 2 Politicians, Institutions, and Human Capital; or, Becker Goes to Washington
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It might seem rather pessimistic or perhaps outlandishly cynical to characterize public officials as consumed with economic self-interest, since they are often depicted in civics texts as just the opposite—that is, as serving broad societal goals rather than merely individual, personal ones. Even when self-interest has been assumed, the motive is incorporated into a reelection incentive...
Chapter 3 Methodology: Data and Variables
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In chapter 2, we described the basic elements of our theory and how Becker’s(1993) work on human capital can be applied to politics—in particular, legislative politics. When we say that our analysis draws on Becker’s theory of human capital, we are referring to the proposition that investments in the...
Chapter 4 Congress as Workplace: The Production of Marketable Human Capital
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In analyzing the organization of legislatures, scholars have highlighted anumber of important characteristics, including susceptibility to decentralization (Weingast 1979), accent on retention (Mayhew 1974; Fiorina 1989; Parker 1992), and capacity to constrain opportunistic behavior (Shepsle and Weingast 1987; Weingast and Marshall 1988). But lost in these illuminating,...
Chapter 5 Returns to Specialized Training: Career Mobility and Grooming Lobbyists
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As we have repeatedly argued, legislators invest in on-the-job training because of the expected returns. To judge by media expos�s, the returns to officeholding should be equated with lucrative postelective salaries, but the gains from congressional service result in other types of returns. For example, legislators contemplating career changes can acquire specialized training, enabling them...
Chapter 6 Returns to General Training: Competitive Wages—But at a Price
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In the previous chapter, we demonstrated that the returns from specialized training primarily took the form of career changes. General skill sets were either inconsequential or negatively related to this objective. With respect to postelective wages, however, general skill packages are far more relevant. We conclude our statistical analysis by examining the remaining two hypotheses...
Chapter 7 Summary of Findings and Implications
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Table 7.1 summarizes the major findings about human capital and politics uncovered in our inquiry. Investments in on-the-job training clearly pay off handsomely for legislators, whether they anticipate changing careers or earning lucrative postelective salaries. In this sense, our study reaches the same conclusion as Becker (1993) and other human capitalists: job training...
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Page Count: 216
Illustrations: 5 figures & 34 tables
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Economics, Cognition, and Society