Electoral rules and elite recruitment: A comparative analysis of the Bundestag and the U.S. House of Representatives

Murat Altuglu, Florida International University


In this research, I analyze the effects of candidate nomination rules and campaign financing rules on elite recruitment into the national legislatures of Germany and the United States. This dissertation is both theory-driven and constitutes exploratory research, too. While the effects of electoral rules are frequently studied in political science, the emphasis is thereby on electoral rules that are set post-election. My focus, in contrast, is on electoral rules that have an effect prior to the election. Furthermore, my dissertation is comparative by design. The research question is twofold. Do electoral rules have an effect on elite recruitment, and does it matter? To answer these question, I create a large-N original data set, in which I code the behavior and recruitment paths and patterns of members of the American House of Representatives and the German Bundestag. Furthermore, I include interviews with members of the said two national legislatures. Both the statistical analyses and the interviews provide affirmative evidence for my working hypothesis that differences in electoral rules lead to a different type of elite recruitment. To that end, I use the active-politician concept, through which I dichotomously distinguish the economic behavior of politicians. Thanks to the exploratory nature of my research, I also discover the phenomenon of differential valence of local and state political office for entrance into national office in comparative perspective. By statistically identifying this hitherto unknown paradox, as well as evidencing the effects of electoral rules, I show that besides ideology and culture, institutional rules are key in shaping the ruling elite. The way institutional rules are set up, in particular electoral rules, does not only affect how the electorate will vote and how seats will be distributed, but it will also affect what type of people will end up in elected office.

Subject Area

Political science

Recommended Citation

Altuglu, Murat, "Electoral rules and elite recruitment: A comparative analysis of the Bundestag and the U.S. House of Representatives" (2014). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3644746.