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.
Advisor: Nicholas Carnes | JEL Codes: D3, D72 | Tagged: Elections, Personal Wealth, Voter Margin
By Jonathan Pryor
What can account for the failure of economists to extend a firm guiding hand into the public discourse on material inequality in contemporary America? This paper reviews historical and modern economic literature and then extends its focus to the debates in the public sector, private opinion, “think tanks,” the news media, the private sector, special interest groups, and popular culture. The intractable social, political and economic complexity of the problem and the influence of competing interests deter attempts at economic interpretation. Economists should respond to the public need by devoting greater attention to descriptive and prescriptive analyses, developed with an appreciation of the competing interests and activities of the various sectors that must accept any response.
Advisor: Craufurd Goodwin | JEL Codes: A11, A13, B12, B13, B14, B15 | Tagged: