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Deciding to Quit: A Duration Model of Retirement in Congress
Unformatted Document Text:  extension of his model is consistent with the important correlation of career ceilings with retirement. There could be other factors that are omitted and are biasing our parameter estimates. However, simulation of experimental conditions in this case is not feasible. This paper at least tests for the same correlation as Theriault in a different time and context, including the incorporation of a period of a shift in partisan control of the House. The significance of the correlation is robust to this change in model. This might be the best that we can do. However, any missing significant covariates would have to be fairly obscure since all obvious factors from logic and the literature seem to have been addressed. Like others, Theriault looks only at the 102 nd Congress. This is the greatest weakness of his paper. It is difficult to extrapolate from the results of a model which is confined to such a small period of history. This is even truer for a period as unusual as the 102 nd Congress. It is the favorite guinea pig of this literature precisely because it is unusual. Theriault chose it because it was a year with scandals; the House bank scandal, with institutional change; the change in the rules on the conversion of campaign finance money to personal income, and with redistricting. However, the theories developed here and elsewhere in the literature from the laboratory of the 102 nd Congress need to be tested upon fresh data. Lawless and Theriault do something similar to this in their 2005 paper. However, their updated model is focused on finding gender effects, has a less complete set of covariates, and uses logit for multiple Congresses when a duration model would be more appropriate. This paper will apply Theriault’s original model, with minor adjustments based on theory, data availably, and variable applicability from the 103 rd

Authors: Sempolinski, Joseph.
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extension of his model is consistent with the important correlation of career ceilings with
retirement. There could be other factors that are omitted and are biasing our parameter
estimates. However, simulation of experimental conditions in this case is not feasible.
This paper at least tests for the same correlation as Theriault in a different time and
context, including the incorporation of a period of a shift in partisan control of the House.
The significance of the correlation is robust to this change in model. This might be the
best that we can do. However, any missing significant covariates would have to be fairly
obscure since all obvious factors from logic and the literature seem to have been
addressed.
Like others, Theriault looks only at the 102
nd
Congress. This is the greatest
weakness of his paper. It is difficult to extrapolate from the results of a model which is
confined to such a small period of history. This is even truer for a period as unusual as
the 102
nd
Congress. It is the favorite guinea pig of this literature precisely because it is
unusual. Theriault chose it because it was a year with scandals; the House bank scandal,
with institutional change; the change in the rules on the conversion of campaign finance
money to personal income, and with redistricting. However, the theories developed here
and elsewhere in the literature from the laboratory of the 102
nd
Congress need to be tested
upon fresh data. Lawless and Theriault do something similar to this in their 2005 paper.
However, their updated model is focused on finding gender effects, has a less complete
set of covariates, and uses logit for multiple Congresses when a duration model would be
more appropriate. This paper will apply Theriault’s original model, with minor
adjustments based on theory, data availably, and variable applicability from the 103
rd


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