Political selection and the relative age effect

Mueller, Daniel & Page, Lionel (2012) Political selection and the relative age effect. In Ulubasoglu, Mehmet & Kidd, Michael P. (Eds.) ESAM2012 Conference program, Econometric Society Australasia, Melbourne, VIC.

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In this paper we present substantial evidence for the existence of a bias in the distribution of births of leading US politicians in favor of those that have been the oldest in their cohort at school. This “relative age effect” has been proven to influence performance at school and in sports,but evidence on its impact on people’s vocational success has been rare. We find a marked break in the density of birthdate of politicians using a maximum likelihood test and McCrary’s (2008) nonparametric test. We conjecture that being relatively old in a peer group may create long term advantages which can create a significant role in the ability to succeed in a highly competitive environment like the race for top political offices in the USA. The magnitude of the effect we estimate is larger than what most other studies on the relative age effect for a broader (adult) population find, but is in general in line with studies that look at populations in high-competition environments.

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ID Code: 55470
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Economics & Finance
Deposited On: 11 Dec 2012 03:33
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2013 02:25

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