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Published December 1993 | Published
Journal Article Open

An Analysis of Congressional Career Decisions, 1947-1986


Most previous research on congressional career decisions has focused on one of two binary choices-between retiring and running for reelection, or between running for reelection and seeking higher office. But most of the time, representatives face all three choices simultaneously. Employing a "mother logit" model, we estimate the effects of relevant variables both on pairwise comparisons (conditional probabilities) and on the unconditional probabilities of choosing each one of these three alternatives. Probably most intriguing is our finding that a member's age has little or no effect upon the unconditional probability of running for reelection. The interrelatedness of career options is seen particularly clearly in the case of incumbents who had been redistricted out of their seats. When they had an opportunity to run for higher office, they were likely to take it. Only when they lacked such an opportunity were they more likely than other members to opt for retirement.

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© 1993 American Political Science Association.

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