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18 February 2008

Snyder on "The Wealth of Politicians and Rents to Political Office in the US, 1840-1870"

This Wednesday, 2/20, the applied statistics workshop welcomes Jim Snyder, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Economics and Political Science at MIT. He will be presenting "The Wealth of Political Office in the US, 1840-1870" work that is joint with Pablo Querubin, Department of Economics, MIT. Jim provided the following abstract and the attached article:

The second half of the 19th century was known as a corrupt era in U.S. politics. Using the censuses of 1850, 1860 and 1870, we find the wealth of all candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives during the period 1840-1870. We use this data to estimate several quantities of interest, including: How wealthy were these candidates compared to others in the population at the time? How did the wealth accumulation of these candidates compare to others in the population? How did the wealth levels and accumulation vary by party? How did those candidates who won a congressional race by a close margin compare with those who lost by a close margin? This last quantity, which exploits a regression-discontinuity approach, provides a good estimate of the monetary ``rents'' to a congressional seat at that time.

As always, the workshop will convene at 12 noon with a light lunch and the presentation will begin at 1215. We are located in CGIS-Knafel, 1737 Cambridge St, room N-354.

Posted by Justin Grimmer at 3:05 PM