Democracies around the world are being confronted with serious public policy challenges, including the increasingly global ramifications of economic and human interconnectedness related to migration and social justice, health threats from pandemic diseases, and climate change.
The vast capabilities of the modern state allow political leaders to exert wide-ranging positive—and negative—influence over social and economic developments, and political parties are the core institutions responsible for recruiting, selecting, and promoting these leaders.
It is therefore critically important to understand how parties organize this selection process, and how career incentives shape the identity and behavior of political elites.
Our project aims to explore institutionalized selection within political parties as an ongoing process that occurs throughout a politician’s entire career. This dynamic view raises several important topics that a static approach (such as studying candidate nominations alone) does not: Do all citizens of comparable quality have a fair chance of rising in the political hierarchy? Can members from the established elite, such as dynastic candidates, leapfrog career steps and seniority rules? Are candidates from underrepresented groups, such as women, disadvantaged by these same career systems? How do parties incentivize candidates to induce effort?
These are some of the questions that we aim to answer in our project.