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Longevity returns to political office

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2020

Sebastian Barfort
Independent Researcher, Copenhagen, Denmark
Robert Klemmensen
Political Science, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
Erik Gahner Larsen*
School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


Does political office cause worse or better longevity prospects? Two perspectives in the literature offer contradicting answers. First, increased income, social status, and political connections obtained through holding office can increase longevity. Second, increased stress and working hours associated with holding office can have detrimental effects on longevity. To provide causal evidence, we exploit a regression discontinuity design with unique data on the longevity of candidates for US gubernatorial office. The results show that politicians winning a close election live 5–10 years longer than candidates who lose.

Research Note
Copyright © The European Political Science Association 2020

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Supplementary material: Link

Barfort et al. Dataset

Supplementary material: PDF

Barfort et al. supplementary material

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