(Tuesday, 24th May 2022)
Title : What Shapes the Quality and Behavior of Government Officials? Institutional Variation in Selection and Retention Methods
In representative democracies, a variety of rules are employed to select and retain public officials to reflect public preferences over policies. We discuss the literature on selection and retention rules for government officials, focusing on low-information offices. First, we overview the historical origins and the scope of the variation in selection and retention rules. Second, we provide conceptual frameworks for assessing the advantages and disadvantages of direct elections and discuss various factors that influence the functioning of elections. Third, we present empirical regularities. We summarize the baseline effects of the institutional variation and their interaction with factors such as media and compensation. Finally, we discuss outstanding questions on theoretical and empirical fronts, and how the digitization of government information and advances in machine learning can open up new avenues for research.