Political Dynasties

71 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2007 Last revised: 10 May 2021

See all articles by Ernesto Dal Bo

Ernesto Dal Bo

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business - Business and Public Policy

Pedro Dal Bo

Brown University - Department of Economics

Jason Snyder

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Date Written: May 2007

Abstract

We study political dynasties in the United States Congress since its inception in 1789. We document historic and geographic patterns in the evolution and profile of political dynasties, study the extent of dynastic bias in legislative politics versus other occupations, and analyze the connection between political dynasties and political competition. We also study the self-perpetuation of political elites. We find that legislators who enjoy longer tenures are significantly more likely to have relatives entering Congress later. Using instrumental variables methods, we establish that this relationship is causal: a longer period in power increases the chance that a person may start (or continue) a political dynasty. Therefore, dynastic political power is self-perpetuating in that a positive exogenous shock to a person's political power has persistent effects through posterior dynastic attainment. In politics, power begets power.

Suggested Citation

Dal Bo, Ernesto and Dal Bo, Pedro and Snyder, Jason, Political Dynasties (May 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13122, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=988933

Ernesto Dal Bo (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business - Business and Public Policy ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Pedro Dal Bo

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States
401-863-2953 (Phone)
401-863-1970 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.brown.edu/fac/Pedro_Dal_Bo/

Jason Snyder

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

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