Barton E. Lee
Abstract: When the success of policy proposals are uncertain and effort is imperfectly observed, politicians face limited accountability for their actions. This provides an incentive for politicians to feign a policy agenda that voters demand. This feigning behavior is more likely to occur when the politician's preferred agenda is close to the status-quo or the politician is a low-skilled legislator. Our results suggests that under certain conditions, such as a trade shock, low-skilled legislators will have an electoral advantage over high-skilled legislators. We provide empirical support for this prediction in U.S. House elections by leveraging data on localized trade shocks from China and the legislative effectiveness of House members.
Barton Lee in action, 16 September 2019