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Research project

Survey Experiments with Legislators Around the World (Pre-Tests)

Do elected representatives enter politics to improve social welfare or for self-interest? To study where national legislators in different countries fall on the continuum between public service motivations and self-interest, we have them play on-line experimental games designed to measure this. We solicit national legislators in countries at varying levels of national income. Our theory predicts that the average respondent exhibits more public service motivation as national income increases. The principal reason is that it is more difficult to engage in corruption and rent-seeking in wealthier countries, where the rule of law is stronger. This changes the pool of politicians.

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