Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 11 > Issue 2

Family and Politics: Dynastic Persistence in the Philippines

Pablo Querubin, Department of Politics, New York University, USA, pablo.querubin@nyu.edu
Suggested Citation
Pablo Querubin (2016), "Family and Politics: Dynastic Persistence in the Philippines", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 11: No. 2, pp 151-181. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00014182

Publication Date: 29 Jul 2016
© 2016 P. Querubin
Comparative Politics,  Democracy,  Elections
Political dynastieselectionselite persistence


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In this article:
1. Historical and Political Background 
2. Data and Descriptive Statistics 
3. Results 
4. Channels of Dynastic Persistence 
5. Conclusions 


In many democracies a small subset of individuals enjoys a de facto electoral advantage. The existence of political dynasties, where individuals from a narrow set of families obtain larger vote shares and are more likely to access office, illustrates this phenomenon. In this paper, I study political dynasties in the Philippines and provide evidence of dynastic persistence. More precisely, I provide evidence that incumbency has a causal effect on the probability of having future relatives in office. Using a regression discontinuity design based on close elections, I find that candidates who barely win their first election by a small margin are around 5 times more likely to have a relative in office in the future than individuals who barely lose their first election and never serve. I discuss alternative channels that may explain dynastic persistence in the Philippines. I argue that access to office and public resources — important in clientelistic democracies like the Philippines — allows incumbents to give relatives an electoral advantage if they first run while they are still in office. Occupational choice, while plausibly important, is less likely to be the main driver of dynastic persistence.