The Control of Politicians in Normal Times and Times of Crisis: Wealth Accumulation by U.S. Congressmen, 1850-1880

75 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2011 Last revised: 9 Mar 2022

See all articles by Pablo Querubin

Pablo Querubin

New York University (NYU) - Department of Politics

James M. Snyder

Harvard University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 2011

Abstract

We employ a regression discontinuity design based on close elections to estimate the rents from a seat in the U.S. congress between 1850-1880. Using census data, we compare wealth accumulation among those who won or lost their first race by a small margin. We find evidence of significant returns for the first half of the 1860s, during the Civil War, but not for other periods. We hypothesize that increased opportunities from the sudden spike in government spending during the war and the decrease in control by the media and other monitors might have made it easier for incumbent congressmen to collect rents.

Suggested Citation

Querubin, Pablo and Snyder, James M., The Control of Politicians in Normal Times and Times of Crisis: Wealth Accumulation by U.S. Congressmen, 1850-1880 (December 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17634, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1967368

Pablo Querubin (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Politics ( email )

New York, NY
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/pabloquerubin/

James M. Snyder

Harvard University ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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