Essays on dynamic political economy
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The unifying theme of this dissertation is the empirical analysis of American politics. In particular, I use economic models to provide theoretically sound and empirically valid answers to political questions that are dynamic in nature. The first chapter focuses on the role of the seniority system in the pork barrel politics and the subsequent effect on the quality of Representatives in the U.S. House. The second chapter analyzes candidate positioning in a dynamic environment where there are electoral costs to changing position. The third and final chapter is a test of the role of political parties in time consistency problems when candidates cannot commit to future policies. Collectively, these chapters extend the research of empirical political economy in an important direction, one that accounts for the inherent dynamics of politics.