Family Dynasties in Democracies

March 21, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Rajiv (L), Sonia (R), and Rahul (M) Gandhi: India’s past, present and (potentially) future leaders in a family photograph

A fair amount of attention is directed towards income inequality. But what about dynastic-political inequality? Ronald U Mendoza took a look at family dynasties in democracies. Highlights include:

  • Some notable examples of dynasties in democracies include the Bush family in the United States, the Gandhis in India, and the Shinwatras in Thailand. Argentina, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and the Philippines also have ruling family dynasties.
  • In India and Myanmar the sons and daughters of former state leaders are being groomed to take over the reins of power in the near-future.
  • The amount of this inequality varies by democracy. In the United States just 6% of legislators and parliamentarians have dynastic links. In the Philippines it’s as high as 70%.
  • Daughters are unlikely to continue family dynasties. Even when a woman is in power it is generally their sons or their husbands who take over after them.
  • Those who come from political dynasties normally win elections by larger margins. Evidence also suggests that they normally increase their wealth by more than the returns from the country’s stock index.
  • Political dynasties are more likely to be located in poorer regions. It is unclear if poor people are more likely to vote for political dynasties, or if political dynasties deliberately keep people poor.

To read case studies on the experience of The Philippines, Singapore and Japan with political dynasties, as well as key statistics behind the phenomenon click here.

Source: Vox

Via: The Economist