Department of Government
New publication

Political (Over)Representation and the Double-Motive Hypothesis

Zuzana Murdoch uses evidence from Norwegian Register Data in new publication on Public Sector Employees in JPART.

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Professor Zuzana Murdoch has together with Benny Geys and Rune J. Sørensen written the article "Political (Over)Representation of Public Sector Employees and the Double-Motive Hypothesis: Evidence from Norwegian Register Data (2007-2019)", that will now be published in Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

In the article the authors state that countries have widely diverging regulations regarding the eligibility of public sector employees for political office, and the stringency of such regulations remains fiercely debated. Building on a demand and supply model of political selection, the article contributes to such debates by studying whether and how the incentives of public employees as both consumers and producers of public services (their ‘double motive’) affects their descriptive political representation.

Their analysis employs population-wide individual-level register data covering four Norwegian local elections between 2007 and 2019 (N>13 million observations). Using predominantly individual-level panel regression models, they find that public employees are strongly overrepresented on election lists and have a higher probability of election (conditional on running).

Looking at underlying mechanisms, the authors provide evidence consistent with the ‘double motive’ of public employees inducing their self-selection into standing for elected office (at higher-ranked ballot positions). Demand-side effects deriving from party and voter selection receive more limited empirical support. The three authors discuss ensuing concerns about the potential substantive representation of policy self-interests by elected public employees.

Read full article HERE