The Dynasty Advantage: Family Ties in Congressional Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 571-98, November 2010
28 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2010
Date Written: November 2010
Political dynasties, families in which multiple members have held elected office, commonly feature in the U.S. Congress. I explored the electoral origins of this phenomenon and determined that members of political dynasties have a significant advantage over first-generation politicians in open-seat House elections. Using an original dataset containing candidate- and district-level covariates for all candidates in open-seat House contests between 1994 and 2006, I found that dynastic politicians enjoy “brand name advantages,” giving them a significant edge over comparable nondynastic opponents. In contrast, hypotheses concerning potential advantages stemming from past political experience and fundraising ability yield null results.
Keywords: dynasties, political dynasties, dynastic candidates, dynastic politicians, political families, political elites, elections, political selection, Congress, legislatures, candidates, open seat, campaigns, name recognition, family ties, intergenerational transfers, brand name, label, goodwill
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation