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Determining the Effect of Personal and Familial Wealth on Congressional and State Legislative Election Outcomes

By Anisha Khemlani

This paper seeks to further the debate on money and politics. Specifically, it focuses on the effect of wealth on election outcomes. The goal is to determine the relationship between personal wealth and voter margins of congressional elections and the effect of familial wealth on state legislative elections. A regression analysis of the congressional data suggests that personal wealth does not significantly impact the voter margins of successful candidates. However, a probit analysis of state legislative data suggests that familial wealth can increases candidate’s chances of winning, all else equal. This implies that at the state level, wealth could provide a candidate with advantages, suggesting that money and power may go hand in hand.

Honors Thesis

Data Set

Advisor: Nicholas Carnes | JEL Codes:  D3, D72 | Tagged: Elections, Personal Wealth, Voter Margin


Undergraduate Program Assistant
Jennifer Becker

Director of the Honors Program
Michelle P. Connolly