Vortrag | Carina Neisser (Universität Köln) | Earnings Disclosure by Politicians

Mittwoch, 11. Mai 2022 - 16:15, DPL 23.110, Domplatz 23

Der Vortrag von Carina Neisser (Universtät Köln) findet im Rahmen des Ökonomischen Forschungsseminars statt, zu dem alle FB4-Wissenschaftler:innen herzlich eingeladen sind. Für eine Teilnahme ist die Vorlage einer 3G-Bescheinigung erforderlich. Der Titel des Vortrages lautet: "Earnings Disclosure by Politicians".

Abstract: Electoral accountability relies on the availability of information about both parliamentary and non-parliamentary actions. Public disclosure of outside activities and earnings are often used to inform voters about non-parliamentary actions. In this project, we exploit various reforms that differ in the degree of disclosure and precision of information to identify the causal effects of disclosure rules on politicians’ outside earnings using administrative tax return data. It allows us to observe pre-reform income as well as using unaffected state MPs as a control group. Starting in 2005, German federal MPs (members of parliament) need to publish their outside activities and earnings in a bracket system top-coded at 7,000€. Initially, the information was only privately disclosed. In 2007, private was replaced by public disclosure (also retroactively to 2005) and the information can be accessed online on webpages of the German Bundestag. More earnings brackets have been introduced in 2013 such that earnings above 250,000€ are now censored. Our results indicate that (1) private disclosure had no effects; (2) the top-censored nature of the initial reporting scheme resulted in higher and (3) stricter reporting rules result in a small decrease in outside earnings. To identify potential mechanisms behind our findings, we collected published information on earnings and activities along with political and electoral variables on webpages of the German Bundestag, Google Trends, Die Zeit and parliamentary speeches. We show that social norms, party affiliation and electoral accountability matters. We plan to run a survey experiment to examine voters’ responses to support our findings.