Born leaders: Political selection and the relative age effect in the US Congress

Mueller, Daniel & Page, Lionel (2016) Born leaders: Political selection and the relative age effect in the US Congress. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 179(3), pp. 809-829.

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We present substantial evidence for the existence of a bias in the distribution of births of leading US politicians in favour of those who were the eldest in their cohort at school. This result adds to the research on the long-term effects of relative age among peers at school. We discuss parametric and non-parametric tests to identify this effect, and we show that it is not driven by measurement error, redshirting or a sorting effect of highly educated parents. The magnitude of the effect that we estimate is larger than what other studies on ‘relative age effects’ have found for broader populations but is in general consistent with research that looks at professional sportsmen. We also find that relative age does not seem to correlate with the quality of elected politicians.

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ID Code: 92750
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Leadership; Political selection; Regression discontinuity design; Relative age effect; School entry cut-off dates
DOI: 10.1111/rssa.12154
ISSN: 1467-985X
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Economics & Finance
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Royal Statistical Society
Deposited On: 09 Feb 2016 00:27
Last Modified: 12 May 2016 04:55

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