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DPE Tuesday Talk Series: Nico Ravanilla, “Limiting Adverse Political Selection: Experimental Evidence from the Philippines”

The Division of Politics and Economics invites the CGU community to attend this week’s Tuesday Lunch Talk featuring Nico Ravanilla, University of California, San Diego. Lunch will be provided.

Nico is an assistant professor at UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. He received his Joint PhD in Political Science & Public Policy from the University of Michigan. His current research uses natural and field experiments to evaluate policies that improve accountability and governance in developing democracies.

Nico Ravanilla

Talk title: Limiting Adverse Political Selection: Experimental Evidence from the Philippines

Talk Description:
Political leaders matter for governance outcomes. To understand the drivers of the quality of the political class, we need to examine not just the demand for good politicians but also the supply of political candidates. While the recent decade has seen an increase in the number of studies on political selection, we still know very little about the drivers of the supply side of politics: what determines the quality of the pool of political candidates? In this study, we evaluate a widely employed means for improving political selection: leadership training programs for aspiring politicians. Specifically, we evaluate whether a three-day leadership training workshop with “plaques of merit” can screen out unmotivated individuals and incentivize high-public-minded ones to public office. We implement a randomized field experiment among 569 youth interested in running for the Sangguniang Kabataan (village youth council) – an elective post that typically serves as a jump-off point for a political career in the Philippines. Subjects took baseline exams that measured quality: public service motivation (PSM), aptitude, personality, integrity, and aspiration. Subjects were then assigned into three groups: no workshop (C), workshop with unconditional awards (T1), and workshop with conditional awards (T2). One year later, we find that both T1 and T2 are effective means of screening-out unmotivated and low-aptitude youth from public office. Five years later, we find that only T2 screens out low-PSM and low-aptitude youth and encourages their high-PSM and high-aptitude counterparts to stand for elective office.

More information about the DPE Tuesday Talk Series can be found here.