Tenure-Dependent Benefits and Politicians’ Integrity

Enrico Miglino (Banca d'Italia)


I combine newly digitized data on confidence votes, party switches and tax returns of
Italian MPs between 2001-2022 to study how tenure-dependent benefits influence politicians’
behavior. Using a difference-in-discontinuities design, I find that a tenure requirement for a
parliamentary pension introduced in 2008 increased the probability of voting confidence in
the government and switching to majority parties. In line with agency model predictions, the
policy dissuaded MPs from defying party directives without changing affiliation which could
jeopardize re-election chances and pension eligibility in a second term. Tenure requirements
increase government stability but also party control, ultimately reducing voters’ welfare.

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