Political Dynasties and the Incumbency Advantage in Party-Centered Environments

Jon H. Fiva, Daniel M. Smith

CESifo Working Paper No. 5757 (February 2016)


There is a growing literature on the phenomenon of dynasties in democracies, with most studies indicating a causal effect of incumbency on dynasty formation under candidate-centered electoral systems. In this study, we explore the relationship between the incumbency advantage and dynasties in the party-centered, closed-list proportional representation context of Norway. We use an original data set of all candidates in Norwegian parliamentary elections from 1945-2013, and apply a regression discontinuity design to evaluate both the incumbency advantage and the inherited incumbency advantage. We document that the incumbency advantage exists even in the party-centered environment of Norway. However, although we document a share of dynasties (7 percent) that is comparable to the United States, we find no evidence that incumbency has a causal effect on their formation. This finding suggests some form of internal party organizational network as a mechanism underlying dynastic politics that operates beyond the incumbency advantage.


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Published Feb. 24, 2016 10:30 AM - Last modified Feb. 24, 2016 11:40 AM