AÂ casual comment in anÂ email from my coauthor Christine Neill made me realise that I’d forgotten to blog on this – very cool – paper. My favourite summary statistic is that 9% of US Congressional representatives have close relatives who also served in Congress.
Ernesto Dal BÃ³, Pedro Dal BÃ³, Jason Snyder
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.
So far as I know, there’s been no work done on this in the Australian context. Which is odd, given the proliferation in federal parliament of Downers and Creans, Beazleys and Anthonies.
An aside:Â A commenter has given examples of other Australian political families. If anyone has the time and inclination, Wikipedia is presently asking for people to create entries in its category Political families of Australia.