Win, lose, or withdraw: A categorical analysis of career patterns in the House of Representatives, 1948-1978
The literature on incumbency advantage has focused on margin as an indicator for electoral security. But while electoral margin is a good ex ante measure, it is a poor ex post measure of security. Further, existing work has not integrated the choice of retirement with changes in the level of security. To improve the specification and definition of "marginality", a multinomial LOGIT model is proposed where the dependent variable is categorical. Account is therefore taken of all the ways a Representative's term in office can end, including reelection, defeat, retirement, or pursuit of other office. The sample includes all U.S. Representatives elected for the first time between 1948 and 1978. The results indicate that (1) margin in the previous election is a significant ex ante proxy for the probability of electoral defeat, and (2) while the electoral safety of all incumbents in the House has been increased, the increases are greater for members elected for the first time in the period since 1965. © 1995 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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