Can Public and Private Sanctions Discipline Politicians ? Evidence from the French Parliament

Présentation de Benjamin Monnery (GATE-LSE, Université de Lyon 2)

Séminaire du 23 novembre 2017 - 12h15 à 13h15, salle IMAPP

Abstract : This paper investigates the effects of sanctions on the behavior of deputies in the French National Assembly. In October 2009, the Assembly introduced small monetary sanctions to prevent absenteeism in weekly standing committee meetings. Using a rich monthly panel dataset of parliamentary activity for the full 2007-2012 legislature, we investigate the reactions of eligible deputies to these new santions using differences-in-differences and fixed-effects models. First, we find very large disciplining effects of the policy in terms of committee attendance, and positive or null effects on other dimensions of parliamentary work. Second, we are able to disentangle between the role of private and public sanctions by exploiting the timing of exposure to the two types of sanctions (monthly salary cuts versus staggered media exposure). Our estimates show that both the private experience of sanctions and the public exposure of sanctioned deputies in the media significantly increase wednesday-morning attendance in the following months. However, attendance on other days and other activities are not much affected by the experience of sanctions. These results suggest that conditional pay and public exposure can be effective policies to discipline politicians.