In the right place, at the right time: Opportunity structures and candidates’ chances of getting elected for the first time

Vesa Koskimaa, Mikko Mattila, Achillefs Papageorgiou, Åsa von Schoultz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The foundational principle of representative democracy is that legislative elites can be replaced in elections. Yet, first-time parliamentary entries have received little attention. We present the first systematic attempt to examine the conditions of first-time parliamentary entry in multimember district PR systems. We introduce an overlooked explanatory factor, candidates' short-term opportunity structure. While controlling for personal vote-earning attributes (PVEAs), we examine how competitive context shapes newcomers' chances in a pure OLPR system where party elites cannot skew competition between candidates. Our register-based analysis of candidacies in seven Finnish parliamentary elections (1995–2019, n = 7548) shows that while personal qualities enhance candidates’ chances, first-time entry is restricted by the competitive context, especially the decisions of incumbent MPs. The strong impact of exceptional PVEAs suggests that other “big fish” candidates may also shape competitive contexts. Overall, the study indicates that electoral competition can be rather restricted even in the most competitive electoral systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102626
JournalELECTORAL STUDIES
Volume84
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Candidate careers
  • Incumbency advantage
  • Open-list PR
  • Parliamentary entry
  • Personal vote-earning attributes
  • Political opportunity structure

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'In the right place, at the right time: Opportunity structures and candidates’ chances of getting elected for the first time'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this