Modern Machines: Patronage, Information, and Incumbency in Local Politics

37 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2007

See all articles by Jessica Trounstine

Jessica Trounstine

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: August, 22, 2007

Abstract

For all intents and purposes political machines are a thing of the past in American cities. Yet certain characteristics of machines are familiar components of the modern political landscape - among others a lack of transparency in governing, patronage, favors and contracts awarded in exchange for campaign contributions. While scholars have noted the persistence of these practices, there has been little exploration of the modern version of one of the most pervasive machine characteristics - winning reelection. Is there a corollary to political machines in today's city politics? Can politicians rely on machine style strategies to increase the probability that they will maintain power? In this paper I use case study and quantitative analysis to investigate the factors that increase the local incumbency advantage. I find that even controlling for demographics, economic stability, and factors that increase the attractiveness of holding office incumbents are more likely to seek reelection and to win in low-information elections with large municipal workforces.

Keywords: urban, elections, incumbency, local, parties, patronage

Suggested Citation

Trounstine, Jessica, Modern Machines: Patronage, Information, and Incumbency in Local Politics (August, 22, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1009263 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1009263

Jessica Trounstine (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
257
Abstract Views
1,959
rank
164,834
PlumX Metrics